CDC: No new SARS-like virus in the U.S.

March 11, 2013 at 12:07 AM
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ATLANTA, March 11 (UPI) -- Genetic sequence analyses show the new coronavirus virus is different from any other known human coronaviruses, including SARS, U.S. health officials say.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said as of Friday, a total of 14 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection had been reported to the World Health Organization, with eight deaths. Illness onsets have occurred from April 2012 through February 2013, but to date, no cases have been reported in the United States, the CDC said.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome is a serious form of pneumonia caused by a member of the coronavirus family of viruses -- the same family that can cause the common cold. An epidemic started when the virus spread from small mammals in China to people and then from people-to-people. The 2003 outbreak infected an estimated 8,000 cases and caused 750 deaths, the U.S. National Library of Medicine said.

Three of the confirmed cases of the new coronavirus infection were identified in the United Kingdom as part of a cluster within one family -- a 60-year-old man with a history of recent travel to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, developed respiratory illness on Jan. 24, before returning to Britain on Jan. 28. The second patient was an adult male household member with an underlying medical condition who became ill on Feb. 6, after contact with the index patient, and received intensive treatment but died, a CDC report said.

The third patient was an adult female who developed a respiratory illness on Feb. 5, following contact with the index patient after he was hospitalized. She did not require hospitalization and recovered. Only the index patient traveled recently outside Britain.

"The U.K. Health Protection Agency concluded person-to-person transmission likely occurred in Britain within this family," the report said.

In light of these developments, updated guidance has been posted on the CDC coronavirus website at:

Patients who develop severe acute lower respiratory illness within 10 days after traveling from the Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries should be evaluated according to current guidelines, the CDC said.

The report was published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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