Update: 13th February 2013
A third case has been reported in the UK. More concerning is that doctors believe that the virus can be transmitted between humans which means that it may spread easier than first anticipated.
News: 12 February 2013
Today the BBC reported that there has been a second diagnosed case of the ‘Sars-like’ coronavirus in the UK. The patient is in intensive care at a Manchester hospital. They had recently visited the Middle East and Pakistan.
This is the 10th case reported in the world. Of these 10 cases, five people have died. All deaths were in the middle east, with 2 in Saudi Arabia and 1 in Jordan.
What Is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is actually a family of viruses and includes both the common cold and the Sars virus (Sars stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome).
It infects the upper respiratory and gastrointestinal tract, so can cause sore throats, coughing, chest pains, and also upset stomach.
There are now several known variations of the coronavirus which affects humans:
- NL63 / New Haven
- Novel Coronavirus 2012
- HCoV-EMC/2012 – related to Tylonycteris bat coronavirus HKU4 (BtCoV-HKU4) and also Pipistrellus bat coronavirus HKU5 (BtCoV-HKU5)
Can Coronavirus Spread?
The chances of coronavirus spreading in the UK is very low, although there is always a risk. It spreads through droplets of mucus and other body fluids, usually when a carrier sneezes or coughs.
Although few people tend to catch these diseases, it is a very deadly virus to catch. When Sars broke out in 2002 (yes, almost 11 years ago) it killed around 800 in 30 different countries. It was mostly spread by air travel.
The Latest Strain of Coronavirus
This new strain of Coronavirus was first identified in September 2012 in Saudi Arabia. Shortly after the first UK case was reported. There have now been 10 cases. A German patient has been discharged and both UK patients are receiving treatment.
The HPA state that the risk of catching the virus is very low,even for those travelling to the middle east.
- New coronavirus: May be ‘bat bug’ – BBC News, 20 November 2012
- Coronavirus – Wikipedia
- Coronavirus infections – WHO
- Coronavirus as a possible cause of severe acute respiratory syndrome, The Lancet, Volume 361, Issue 9366, 19 April 2003, Pages 1319–1325
- Case of novel coronavirus identified in the UK – HPA, 11 February 2013