A new virus that has sickened 14 people and killed 8 could come to the United States, health officials say.
The virus is called the novel coronavirus, and it is in the same family as the common cold and SARS (Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome). Symptoms of infection are acute respiratory infection, fever, and a cough.
So far, most of the cases have occurred in the Middle East. Three confirmed infections in Great Britain however show that the virus can spread from person to person. The British outbreak started with a 60 year old man who recently returned from traveling abroad in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. He developed a respiratory infection in January of this year, and passed the infection to two others in his household. One person, who suffered an underlying illness, died. The other recovered without being hospitalized.
The CDC says that those who develop severe acute respiratory illness within 10 days after traveling from the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries, should see a doctor. While this virus is something to be wary of, it does not seem to have health officials too worried. The virus originated in animals, and is related to viral strains found in bats. It does not transmit easily from person to person.