Potential coronavirus case in Lawrence has Kansas' top doctors puzzled

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — Health experts around the world are working frantically to contain the coronavirus outbreak. The new virus has now infected more people in China than were sickened there during the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak.

FOX4 got a chance to talk with Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment Dr. Lee Norman. He said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking into more than 100 potential cases of the coronavirus, including a potential case from Lawrence.

By the weekend, we could learn whether a patient admitted to a Lawrence Memorial Hospital contracted the coronavirus during a recent trip to China.

Dr. Norman says that experts are still at a loss on the original source and how to combat it.

“We still don`t know how long the person shed the virus. Are they infectious before they come down with the symptoms?” he said.

One thing that is helping: the five confirmed cases of the virus here in the United States. Norman said doctors are examining the strains to look for clues.
He said Americans are at a low-risk of contracting the illness, but warns travel, especially to China, could increase your risk of exposure.

Dr. Norman doesn’t want people to panic, but does want them to be aware.

“I don`t know if I would recommend that people go out and start stockpiling masks. If somebody`s ill, you would want them to stay at home. If you`re coughing or sneezing you wouldn`t want to kiss them,” he said.

FOX4 will continue to follow the potential case in Lawrence and will provide breaking updates when the test results are released.

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