Briton in intensive care at Manchester hospital after contracting potentially fatal Sars-like virus

 

A UK resident has contracted a potentially fatal Sars-like virus, health experts have confirmed.

The person, who has recently travelled to the Middle East and Pakistan, is being treated in an intensive care unit at a Manchester hospital after becoming infected with a new type of coronavirus, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said.

The latest case brings the total number of confirmed cases across the world to 10, the HPA added.

Last year British health officials identified another case of the novel coronavirus.

A 49-year-old Qatari man was treated at St Thomas' hospital in London after becoming infected.

The latest case is the second to be identified in the UK.

Professor John Watson, head of the respiratory diseases department at the HPA, said: “The HPA is providing advice to healthcare workers to ensure the patient under investigation is being treated appropriately and that healthcare staff who are looking after the patient are protected. Contacts of the case are also being followed up to check on their health.

“Our assessment is that the risk associated with novel coronavirus to the general UK population remains extremely low and the risk to travellers to the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding countries remains very low.

“No travel restrictions are in place but people who develop severe respiratory symptoms, such as shortness of breath, within 10 days of returning from these countries should seek medical advice and mention which countries they have visited.

“Since the first case of novel coronavirus was diagnosed in the UK in September 2012, the HPA has maintained increased vigilance for illness caused by this virus, working closely with national and international authorities including the World Health Organisation and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

“We have also produced updated guidance for health professionals in the UK on the investigation and management of possible cases.”

Five patients have died as a result of the infectious disease.

The HPA said that there have been five cases confirmed in Saudi Arabia resulting in three deaths, while two patients treated in Jordan have both died.

A patient from Qatar was treated in Germany but has since been discharged.

Infected patients have presented with serious respiratory illness with fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

Coronaviruses cause most common colds but can also cause Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome). In 2003, hundreds of people died after a Sars outbreak in Asia.

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