redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
The deadly new virus that has caused 14 people to fall ill and resulted in eight fatalities to date, has yet to infect anyone in the US. But that hasn´t stopped the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from issuing a preemptive warning to state and local health officials.
While most cases of the novel coronavirus have been linked to the Middle East, three recently-confirmed cases (including one death) in the UK demonstrate the virus — which had previously not been seen in humans — can be transmitted from one person to another, the CDC warned Thursday in its Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report.
Previously, it had been believed the virus could only be transferred to humans from an animal, explained Michael Smith, North American Correspondent for MedPage Today. In addition, the first confirmed UK fatality has also led the American health organization to conclude there can be a co-infection with both the coronavirus and a second pathogen (influenza A) and that there is a mild illness associated with the infection.
According to Mail Online, the CDC has concluded the UK cases of the virus originated with a 60-year-old man who developed a respiratory illness after traveling to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in January. Samples showed he had contracted both the coronavirus and the H1N1 swine flu.
“This man subsequently passed the infection to two members of his household: a male with an underlying illness who became ill on February 6 and subsequently died; and a healthy adult female in his household who developed a respiratory illness on February 5, but who did not need to be hospitalized and has recovered,” the newspaper reported.
The CDC advises anyone who has visited the Arabian Peninsula or surrounding countries and, within 10 days of their return, is showing signs of severe acute lower respiratory illness to see a doctor immediately. They added doctors should be vigilant of patients who develop unexplained infections shortly after visits overseas.
Currently, the CDC is not issuing any travel restrictions, but are advising those who do wish to travel to the Middle East and neighboring countries to remain vigilant. Symptoms associated with the coronavirus include coughing, fever, and shortness of breath.
“The novel virus, which is associated with severe respiratory illness with renal failure, was first recognized last September and caused alarm because it is genetically and clinically similar to the SARS virus, which caused hundreds of deaths worldwide,” Smith wrote.
“The two most recent cases — both reported from Saudi Arabia — ended in death, bring [sic] the total number of fatalities associated with the virus to eight, including five in Saudi Arabia, two in Jordan, and one in the UK,” he added.