Officials in Mexico said Thursday that tests for two patients who were suspected of having the 2019 Novel Coronavirus came back negative, but tests were pending for three other possible cases.
The only patient in the Americas confirmed as having the coronavirus is one in the United States.
Gloria Molina Gamboa, the Secretary of Health of Mexico’s Tamaulipas state, said in a statement that a possible case in the state, which borders the U.S. state of Texas, was ruled out after samples returned negative.
“The 57-year-old doctor was diagnosed with Adenovirus Rhinovirus, that is, a common cold,” she said.
The state is free of coronavirus, Molina Gamboa stressed.
The announcement came one day after Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador told reporters about the potential case.
The office of Mexico’s Secretary of Health said later Thursday (pdf) that there were five cases in total, with two, including the Tamaulipas one, testing negative. Tests for the other three, all in Jalisco state, were pending.
He repeated several times that there are no suspected cases of coronavirus in Brazil, though he said that the case could be updated in the future.
The ministry considers suspected cases to involve patients who show respiratory symptoms and have traveled to one of the areas where the virus has been active within two weeks of the onset of the symptoms.
According to the World Health Organization, only the city of Wuhan in China is on the list of places where the virus has been active.
The suspected case Brazil announced this week, Croda said, doesn’t fit the definition because the patient was in Shanghai, not Wuhan, and didn’t report having contact with any people who showed symptoms of the coronavirus. Croda did not say if test results from the patient informed his remarks.
The coronavirus has spread to at least six countries but all are in Asia except for the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed on Tuesday the first case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the country, in the state of Washington.
“The patient recently returned from Wuhan, China, where an outbreak of pneumonia caused by this novel coronavirus has been ongoing since December 2019. While originally thought to be spreading from animal-to-person, there are growing indications that limited person-to-person spread is happening. It’s unclear how easily this virus is spreading between people,” the agency said in a statement.
The patient returned to the United States on Jan. 15 and sought medical care in Washington and was treated. Because the patient had recently traveled to Wuhan, they were tested. Test results came back positive.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement that “risk to the general public is low” and that both local and state health departments were prepared for the contingency.
“They have practiced and drilled for this situation, and they were ready. The quick response also shows the importance of a strong public health system, which we have here in Washington state. We want to make it clear: our teams are employing a layered approach to combat this. We have strong partnerships and a tiered public health system in place,” he added.
“We take this very seriously and, while this is the first case in the U.S., there will likely be others. Washington state will continue to work to share information and help however we can.”
Ileana Alescio contributed to this report.