The patient, a family member of the two previous cases this week, is the third confirmed novel coronavirus (NCoV) case reported since Monday, according to a Health Protection Agency (HPA) press release Feb. 15.
The United Kingdom resident, who has no recent history of travel, is recovering from a mild case of the new respiratory disease.
This recent family cluster of NCoV opens up the question of person-to-person transmission, although the World Health Organization (WHO) says based on the current evidence, the risk of sustained person-to-person transmission appears to be very low.
Professor John Watson, head of the respiratory diseases department at the HPA, said: "Although this patient had a mild form of respiratory illness, as a precaution the HPA is advising that the patient self-isolate and limit contact with non-household members. Follow up of other household members and contacts of this case is currently underway.
“Although this case appears to be due to person-to-person transmission, the risk of infection in contacts in most circumstances is still considered to be 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."
This newest case is the 12th confirmed NCoV case reported globally since April 2012. To date there has been five fatalities reported.
The previous nine cases confirmed before this week include five cases (including 3 deaths) from Saudi Arabia, two cases from Qatar and two cases (both fatal) from Jordan.
According to the WHO, Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that includes viruses that may cause a range of illnesses in humans, from the common cold to SARS. Viruses of this family also cause a number of animal diseases.
This particular strain of coronavirus has not been previously identified in humans. There is very limited information on transmission, severity and clinical impact with only a small number of cases reported thus far.
In confirmed cases of illness in humans, common symptoms have been acute, serious respiratory illness with fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. Based on current clinical experience, the infection generally presents as pneumonia. It has caused kidney failure and death in some cases.
The WHO notes that this is based on a limited number of cases and could change with more information.
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