Brazilian officials said on Wednesday that a woman who recently traveled from China likely has coronavirus, the first case of the virus in the South American country.
As Chinese officials announced they were quarantining Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus, Brazilian officials said the 35-year-old woman arrived in the city of Belo Horizonte on Jan. 18 with respiratory symptoms.
The case was flagged as a suspected coronavirus case in view of the woman traveling from China, the Department of Health in the state of Minas Gerais said in a statement.
“The case was notified as a suspect. Considering the current epidemiological context of the country where the patient was, the hypothesis of illness caused by the new Coronavirus, which is a microorganism of international health alert, was considered, considering the potential pandemic with high risk to life and impact on care,” it stated. “Despite not showing any sign of clinical severity, the patient was quickly taken to the [the hospital] for careful observation in a hospital setting.”
The woman told authorities that she wasn’t in the Wuhan area and that she didn’t think she had contact with anyone who had coronavirus.
Test results haven’t come back yet confirming a coronavirus diagnosis or clearing the patient, who was described as clinically stable.
Symptoms include respiratory symptoms, fever, and shortness of breath. Severe cases can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.
Hundreds of people, mostly in China, have contracted novel coronavirus in recent weeks, with over a dozen dying from the virus. The first case outside China was reported after a woman from Wuhan traveled to Thailand on Jan. 8.
Cases have since been confirmed in the United States, Japan, and South Korea, as well as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao.
Canadian officials said this week it ruled out three possible cases of coronavirus after the three people traveled to Wuhan. Australian health authorities also said they cleared a man who fell ill after visiting family in Wuhan and returning to Brisbane.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Wednesday that officials there are looking into a potential case of coronavirus, while officials already ruled out another possible case. The man still under observation recently traveled to Wuhan.
Chinese health authorities said they were shutting down all public transportation in Wuhan, a city with a population of some 11 million, and restricting locals from leaving the city save for special circumstances.
The United States, meanwhile, has a plan to contain the coronavirus, President Donald Trump told reporters in Switzerland, praising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We do have a plan and we think it is going to be handled very well. We’ve already handled it very well,” he said. “The CDC is terrific. Very professional.”
Ileana Alescio contributed to this report.