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Home News centre National Press Releases 2013 Press Releases ›  Further UK case of novel coronavirus

Further UK case of novel coronavirus

13 February 2013

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) can confirm a further case of novel coronavirus infection in a family member of the case announced on Monday 11 February. The patient, who is a UK resident, does not have any recent travel history and is currently receiving intensive care treatment at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. It is understood that this patient has an existing medical condition that may make them more susceptible to respiratory infections. This latest case brings the total number of confirmed cases globally to 11, of which three have been diagnosed in the UK.


Professor John Watson, head of the respiratory diseases department at the HPA, said: "Confirmed novel coronavirus infection in a person without travel history to the Middle East suggests that person-to-person transmission has occurred, and that it occurred in the UK. This case is a family member who was in close personal contact with the earlier case and who may have been at greater risk of acquiring an infection because of their underlying health condition.

“To date, evidence of person-to-person transmission has been limited. Although this case provides strong evidence for person to person transmission, the risk of infection in most circumstances is still considered to be very low. If novel coronavirus were more infectious, we would have expected to have seen a larger number of cases than we have seen since the first case was reported three months ago. However, this new development does justify, the measures that were immediately put into place to prevent any further spread of infection and to identify and follow up contacts of known cases.

“We will continue to provide advice and support to healthcare workers looking after the patients and to contacts of both cases.

"In light of this latest case we would like to emphasise that the risk associated with novel coronavirus to the general UK population remains very low. The HPA will continue to work closely with national and international health authorities and will share any further advice with health professionals and the public if and when more information becomes available."

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  1. Laboratory confirmed cases to date: 11
    Saudi Arabia: 5 (3 deaths)
    Jordan: 2 (2 deaths)
    UK:3 (1 patient from Qatar – receiving treatment, 2 patients from UK, 1 with recent travel to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia – both receiving treatment)
    Germany: 1 (patient from Qatar – discharged)
  2. Coronaviruses are causes of the common cold but can also include more severe illness, such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). This new coronavirus was first identified in September 2012 in a patient who died from a severe respiratory infection in June 2012. The virus has so far only been identified in a small number of cases of acute, serious respiratory illness who presented with fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties.
  3. For further information, see the HPA’s coronavirus webpages which includes a Q&A page on this topic.
  4. The Health Protection Agency is an independent UK organisation that was set up by the government in 2003 to protect the public from threats to their health from infectious diseases and environmental hazards. In April 2013 the Health Protection Agency will become part of a new organisation called Public Health England, an executive agency of the Department of Health. To find out more, visit our website: www.hpa.org.uk or follow us on Twitter @HPAuk.
  5. For more information please contact the national HPA press office at Colindale on 0208 327 7901 or email colindale-pressoffice@hpa.org.uk. Out of hours the duty press officer can be contacted on 0208 200 4400.

 

Last reviewed: 13 February 2013