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By Bill Houston

With growing concern about the spread of the novel coronavirus spreading into the U.S., the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS)University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, local health department officials, and the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported the first confirmed case in Wisconsin.

The unidentified adult — who has a travel history to Beijing, China and is known to have been exposed to confirmed cases in that country — is being isolated at home.

“DHS is operating with an abundance of caution and is working very closely with the local department and UW Hospitals and Clinics to ensure that this patient and any close contacts are closely monitored,” said State Health Officer Jeanne Ayers. “The risk of getting sick from 2019 novel coronavirus in Wisconsin is very low.”

Wisconsin residents are urged to take the same steps used to prevent against the common cold or flu in order to minimize the risk of spreading the disease, including covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands frequently, and remaining at home when feeling symptomatic.

Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing, which may present as anything from a mild illness, such as a common cold, to a serious case of pneumonia requiring hospitalization.

Identified in late 2019, the novel coronavirus originated and has been spread by travelers from Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, but person-to-person transmission has been growing globally.

Travelers returning to Wisconsin from China, and those who have been in contact with patients of confirmed cases, should let their health care providers know in advance of showing up at their health care facility.

For more information about the novel coronavirus, please visit the DHS Outbreaks and Investigations site online.