MEXICO CITY – The first suspected case of coronavirus in Mexico was being investigated after a doctor who recently traveled to China reported symptoms of the disease.
The 57-year-old specialist in molecular biology visited the Wuhan region in China on 25 December.
It would be the first case of coronavirus in Mexico, according to Gloria Molina Gamboa, secretary of health for the state of Tamaulipas.
“Yesterday we received a call to report a suspected case of coronavirus. A doctor who worked at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN),” she told Mexico’s Radio Formula.
The doctor reported that he returned from China to Reynosa in the northeast of Mexico on 10 January, stopping in Mexico City, according to the official.
After his arrival, he began to suffer from a runny nose and dry cough, so he isolated himself at home.
He said he has been tested to find out if the virus is present in his body and the results are pending.
The coronavirus is similar to the flu but because it is a new strain there is a wait between 36 and 72 hours for test results, Molina Gamboa said.
She added that a contact study has been carried out on people who have been in proximity with the doctor and at the Molecular Biology Center in Reynosa where he works.
“So far everyone is asymptomatic,” she said and added they will be under observation to monitor the incubation period of the virus.
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday morning that health authorities were investigating the case.
Authorities in the Hubei province, where the new Wuhan pneumonia coronavirus originated, raised the number of deaths from the disease to 17 and China’s National Health Commission has warned it could mutate and spread.
The virus has been detected in at least 13 Chinese provinces and has also spread to Hong Kong and Macao, which confirmed their first cases on Wednesday.
Cases of the virus have also been confirmed in Japan, Thailand, South Korea and the United States.