WACO, Texas - Health officials say a student at Baylor University who recently traveled to China is being tested for a possible case of the coronavirus.
The university announced the possible case on Friday, but they said the health risk on campus is low.
Officials said the student lives in a campus dorm, but has now been moved to an isolated room on campus as a precaution. The student’s residence hall and room been “thoroughly sanitized,” Baylor officials said.
The university wouldn’t reveal the student’s name or any identifying information, including which building the student lived in, citing privacy issues.
Waco McLennan Public Health District is working with Baylor, the Texas Department of State Health Services and the CDC. Test samples were sent to the CDC on Thursday. There’s no timetable for results.
Students on campus Friday were seen wearing masks that they say the school provided for them.
“There’s a whole lot of mystery behind it,” said student Chad Carter. “And we’re all on edge, I would say.”
“Once you’re in a class with a person it can spread like that,” said student Sanjana Kurapati. “It just kind of worries me because we’re all in classes and buildings together.”
Other students weren’t too concerned.
“I’m treating it like every other illness you get,” said student Azzaya Johnson. “Just like wash your hands, drink orange juice, get good sleep, drink a lot of water.”
In the meantime, the university says the risk for other students at the campus is low, and the sick student is doing well.
“It was determined that they did not need to be hospitalized and that their symptoms were considered minimal,” said Kelly Craine with the Waco McLennan Public Health District.
A separate potential case of the virus is being examined at Texas A&M University in College Station. Officials there said on Friday test results expected back before the weekend likely won't come until Monday.
A total of four potential cases in Texas have been tested or are in the process of being tested, state health officials said on Friday. Two of those are the Baylor and Texas A&M cases. The location of the other two potential cases isn’t known, but one of them has already come back negative.
The number of confirmed cases around the world has climbed sharply to more than 1280, the bulk of them in China. There have now been at least 41 deaths, all of them in China. The vast majority of cases have been in and around Wuhan or involved people who visited the city or had personal connections to those infected.
Initial symptoms of the virus can mirror those of the cold and flu, including cough, fever, chest tightening and shortness of breath, but can worsen to pneumonia. The coronavirus family includes the common cold as well as viruses that cause more serious illnesses, such as SARS and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, or MERS, which is thought to have originated from camels. The Wuhan outbreak is suspected to have begun from wild animals sold at a food market in the city. The market is closed for investigation.
Fewer than two dozen cases in all have been confirmed outside mainland China, in Hong Kong, Macao, the U.S., South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam.
The U.S. reported its second confirmed case, involving a Chicago woman in her 60s who was hospitalized after returning from China. She was reported to be doing well. The first confirmed case is in the state of Washington.