Passenger arrives at LAX with possible coronavirus symptoms

LOS ANGELES -- A passenger who landed at Los Angeles International Airport Wednesday night was hospitalized for a precautionary medical evaluation amid increased concerns over coronavirus.

ABC News reports it's unclear if the passenger, who arrived on Flight 2436 from Mexico City, has coronavirus or what symptoms were exhibited.

Children's Hospital Los Angeles confirmed a patient who has a common strain of coronavirus was being treated. Hospital officials say children with four different types of coronavirus are treated on a regular basis, including the patient who was recently admitted.

These developments come a day after Los Angeles County public health officials said it was possible the area would see at least one case of the virus, given the number of people traveling between Southern California and China.

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Los Angeles officials said, so far, there have been no local cases of the China-based coronavirus. But they note that with the Lunar New Year holiday, travel from China may be at increased levels now.

In addition, with flu season in full swing, health officials reminded people to take the precautions they should observe every year at this time.

"If you're sick, if you're coughing, if you're sneezing, you need to stay away from other people," said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

On Saturday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began conducting health screenings of passengers arriving at LAX from China in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Screenings were also implemented at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and San Francisco International Airport.
The first travel-related case in the United States was announced Tuesday, in a person from Washington state who had recently traveled to Wuhan, China. There have been at least 17 reported deaths in China associated with the virus, with more than 550 people infected with the new coronavirus in Wuhan.

RELATED: Coronavirus outbreak kills 17 in China; US has 1 confirmed case, health officials say

According to the CDC, coronavirus can be spread among people through the air by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact such as shaking hands and touching a surface with the virus then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Symptoms can include runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat and fever.

Children, older adults and people with weakened immune systems may be subject to more severe symptoms, including death.

Despite the screening procedures in place, Ferrer said it is possible other people with coronavirus may already be in the United States, especially if they entered the country before the procedures were put in place.

"I think it is possible, just like the traveler in Washington, that there may be a person who's already here and didn't get screened and still may in fact come down with symptoms," she said. "We're prepared to make sure that person gets the treatment they need so they can successfully recover."
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