British Man Dies From SARS-Like Virus In U.K. Hospital | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

British Man Dies From SARS-Like Virus In U.K. Hospital

The sixth person has died from a new kind of virus that causes symptoms similar to SARS, a hospital in the U.K. said in a statement Tuesday.

This is the 12th known case of illness caused by the virus, a new kind of coronavirus, since it appeared last year in the Middle East. It's the first death reported in the U.K. Five others have occurred in Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

The patient, who was being treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, had a chronic health condition and weakened immune system, which made him more vulnerable to the virus and the severe pneumonia-like problems it causes.

The man was thought to have caught the bug from his father, who is currently being treated for the virus in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Manchester, England.

The father had traveled to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and returned to the U.K. in late January.

Health officials have already tracked down nearly 100 people who came in contact with him, including those who sat next to him on a plane back to the U.K., the BBC reported. No one, except his son, has gotten seriously ill.

A third family member also caught the virus, the U.K.'s Health Protection Agency said Friday, but the person experienced only mild respiratory problems and fully recovered at home.

The virus, which is also known as NCoV, is a distant cousin of SARS, which killed nearly 800 people in 2003.

But the new coronavirus isn't very contagious. "It appears very difficult to spread, and very difficult to catch," Dr. Paul Cosford, deputy chief of the HPA, told the BBC last week. "That's the big difference between this virus and the SARS virus."

Health officials say the risk of to the general population is low.

"Although [for] the people who get it, it is very serious for them, there is not a picture here that looks like SARS," Cosford said.

It's still not known where the new virus originated, but its genetic code sequence is most similar to that of a bat coronavirus. It's thought the virus jumps from bats to humans, either directly or through another animal.

Immunologists are already trying to figure out how the virus infects people. A team from Kantonal Hospital in Switzerland published a study Tuesday showing that the new coronavirus easily infects cells from the human respiratory tract.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

High Tea, Afternoon Tea, Elevenses: English Tea Times For Dummies

It's easy to get overwhelmed by the English and their social tea traditions. What time does each of them take place, anyway? But don't fret. The Salt is here to offer guidance.
NPR

Communities Get A Lift As Local Food Sales Surge To $11 Billion A Year

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says local food is growing quickly from a niche market into something that's generating significant income for communities across the country.
NPR

Chris Christie Becomes 14th Republican Presidential Candidate

With New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in the race, there are now 14 Republican candidates for president. Two more are expected to join by the end of July.
NPR

Flood Maps Can Get Much Sharper With A Little Supercomputing Oomph

Entrepreneurs are turning to Oak Ridge National Lab's supercomputer to make all sorts of things, including maps that are much more accurate in predicting how a neighborhood will fare in a flood.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.