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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic

corona virus , person to person transmission

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    Posted: February 14 2013 at 1:28pm
hi all

Coronavirus: Signs the new Sars-like virus can spread between people

By James Gallagher Health and science reporter, BBC News

Dr Paul Cosford, HPA: "It appears very difficult to spread, and very difficult to catch"

Health officials in the UK believe they have the strongest evidence yet that a new respiratory illness similar to the deadly Sars virus can spread from person to person.

Cases of the infection may come from by contact with animals. However, if the virus can spread between people it poses a much more serious threat.

One man in the UK is thought to have caught the infection from his father.

However, officials say the threat to the whole population remains very low.

There have been 11 confirmed cases of the infection around the world. It causes pneumonia and sometimes kidney failure - five patients have died.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

Confirmed novel coronavirus infection in a person without travel history to the Middle East suggests that person-to person>transmission has occurred, and that it occurred in the UK.”

Prof John Watson Health Protection Agency

This is the third case identified in the UK. The first was a patient flown in from Qatar for treatment. The second was linked to travel to the Middle East and Pakistan.

The virus is then thought to have spread from the second patient to his son. There have been suggestions of person to person transmission in earlier cases in the Middle East, but this was not confirmed.

Susceptible

The third UK case is being treated in intensive care at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

The patient is known to have an underlying health condition which left them with a weakened immune system. This may have made them susceptible to the infection.

There have been no signs of the virus spreading to staff at the hospital.

Prof John Watson, head of the respiratory diseases department at the Health Protection Agency (HPA), said: "Confirmed novel coronavirus infection in a person without travel history to the Middle East suggests that person-to-person transmission has occurred, and that it occurred in the UK.

Continue reading the main story

Confirmed cases

Saudi Arabia: Five cases, three deaths

Jordan: Two cases, two deaths

UK: Three cases, including one flown from Qatar

Germany: One cases, flown from Qatar

Total: 11 cases, five deaths

Source: Health Protection Agency/World Health Organization

"Although this case provides strong evidence for person to person transmission, the risk of infection in most circumstances is still considered to be very low."

The exact source of the new virus and how it spreads is still unknown. The leading theory is that it comes from animals, the new Sars-like virus does appear to be closely related to a virus in bats.

However, if the infection needs to jump from an animal to a person with each infection the threat would be much lower.

The World Health Organization reported cases from within the same family in Saudi Arabia in November 2012.

It was impossible to tell whether each patient caught the infection separately - or if it had spread between them.

A WHO spokesperson said: "We know that in some of those cases there was close physical contact between family members caring for one another, so we can't rule out human-to-human transmission."

The two cases in the UK, with only one case linked to foreign travel, provide the strongest evidence that the infection can spread between people. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said it was "overwhelmingly likely" human-to-human transmission had occurred.

However, if the virus could readily and easily spread between people then far more cases than the 11 detected so far would have been detected.

New strain
Continue reading the main story
image%20of%20Fergus%20Walsh Analysis Fergus Walsh Medical correspondent

The emergence of any new virus that poses a threat to human health is a cause for concern.

If the pathogen can spread from person to person, it becomes a significant issue. But the indications are the dangers to the general population are very low.

The very small number of cases strongly suggests if it does pass between people, it is not very contagious.

It appears infected animals - possibly bats - are the source of most of the cases so far.

Coronaviruses cannot survive outside the body for more than 24 hours and are killed by most detergents.

You will see it described as a "Sars-like virus" in headlines. But a key difference is that it does not pass easily from person to person.

Furthermore, it is also from the same family of viruses that produce the common cold.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses ranging from the common cold to the Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus, which spread through droplets of body fluids produced by sneezing and coughing.

It is thought these cases do not represent a "tip of the iceberg" with far more people being infected with mild or no symptoms, but the infection is still being analysed.

In 2003 an outbreak of Sars killed about 800 people after the virus spread to more than 30 countries around the world.

The new coronavirus was first identified in September 2012 in a patient in Saudi Arabia who has since died.

No travel restrictions are in place.

Prof John Oxford, a virology expert at Queen Mary, University of London, said: "This doesn't raise too many alarm bells.

"In a family things can spread far more easily than they would spread outside, people share towels and toothbrushes etc.

"If it was somebody who was not related or a nurse or a doctor - that would be a lot more serious."

Prof Ian Jones, from the University of Reading, said: "There is really close contact involved here, it is not 'true' human transmission in the general public.

"Although it is severe, it's not doing anything worse than some other respiratory infections, it's just a new one."

Prof Wendy Barclay, from Imperial College London, said it was wise to keep a close eye on the virus.

"We're an incremental step closer to worrying, but it isn't a worry where we need to say there is a pandemic coming," she said.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 16 2013 at 3:43pm
hi all

coronavirus spreads to third family member

Sars-like novel coronavirus infects third person related to original carrier, as health agency insists by transmission risk is low

Coronavirus,%20shown%20under%20an%20electron%20microscope
Coronavirus, shown under an electron microscope. It is part of a family of by viruses that cause ailments including the common cold and Sars. Photograph: HPA/AP

A third member of one UK family has been infected by the new Sars-like virus that appears to have originated in the Middle East, according to the Health Protection Agency.

The first member of the family to fall ill had travelled to the Middle East and Pakistan. That person and a relative who had a pre-existing medical condition, which might have made them more susceptible to infection, were admitted to a Manchester hospital.

But the third family member to have contracted the novel coronavirus is said by the HPA to be recovering from a mild respiratory illness and is well. He or she has been advised not to meet with other people who are not part of the family, but only as a precaution. Other relatives and by contacts of the latest person to be diagnosed are still being tracked down and tested.

There have been 12 confirmed cases worldwide, of which four were found in Britain. Three in Saudi Arabia and two in Jordan have died. But the HPA made it clear it did not consider the latest case to be an escalation of the problem.

Professor John Watson, head of the respiratory diseases department at the HPA, said: "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.

"We would like to emphasise that the risk associated with novel coronavirus to the general UK population remains very low. The HPA will by continue to work closely with national and international health authorities and will share any further advice with health professionals and the public if and when more information becomes available."



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New SARS-like virus could show up in U.S.
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/02/18/health/coronavirus/?hpt=hp_t3
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 20 2013 at 4:32am
hi all

Coronavirus: Sars-like virus death reported in UK

By James Gallagher Health and science reporter, BBC News
Coronavirus Scientists have sequenced the infection's full genome

A patient infected with a new respiratory illness similar to the deadly Sars virus has died in the UK.

He was being treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and died on Sunday morning, the hospital has confirmed.

Of the 12 people known to have been infected with the virus around the world, six have died.

The threat to the general population is thought to be small, although the virus has shown signs of spreading in people.

Three members of the same family have been infected with the virus in the UK as well as another patient who was flown in from Qatar for treatment.

It is thought one family member picked up the virus while travelling to the Middle East and Pakistan and then the virus spread to his son and another family member.

The son, who died, had a weakened immune system, which would have left him more vulnerable to the infection.

Continue reading the main story

Confirmed cases

Saudi Arabia: Five cases, three deaths

Jordan: Two cases, two deaths

UK: Four cases, one death

Germany: One case, flown from Qatar

Total: 12 cases, six deaths

Source: Health Protection Agency/World Health Organization

The hospital said it extended its sympathies to the family and was working with the Health Protection Agency to test other people who may have come into contact with the virus.

The infection causes pneumonia and sometimes kidney failure.

The exact source of the new virus and how it spreads is still unknown. The leading theory is that it comes from animals and the new Sars-like virus does appear to be closely related to a virus in bats.

The threat posed by the virus is thought to be low as it struggles to spread in people.

Speaking on Thursday, Dr Paul Cosford, deputy chief executive at the HPA, said: "It appears very difficult to catch"

Prof John Watson, head of the respiratory diseases department at the Health Protection Agency, said: "The routes of transmission to humans of the novel coronavirus have not yet been fully determined, but the recent UK experience provides strong evidence of human-to-human transmission in at least some circumstances.

"The three recent cases in the UK represent an important opportunity to obtain more information about the characteristics of this infection in humans and risk factors for its acquisition, particularly in the light of the first ever recorded instance of apparently lower severity of illness in one of the cases.

"The risk of infection in contacts in most circumstances is still considered to be low and the risk associated with novel coronavirus to the general UK population remains very low."

Prof Ian Jones, from the University of Reading, said: "Given the previous health status of the patient it may be premature to assume the death was a result of the infection but even if it was, it is unlikely to signify a change in the virus.

"No general virus spread has been reported meaning the risk to the public remains very low."


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2013 at 1:20pm

Health

Novel coronavirus infection - from SARS to SARI

19.02.2013
 
Novel%20coronavirus%20infection%20-%20from%20SARS%20to%20SARI.%2049441.jpeg

Twelve cases, six deaths, no cure, a new deadly viral infection, fifty per cent mortality rate. It is lethal, it is unknown in humans, it can be transmitted from human to human, the mechanism is a mystery and it is spreading. On Sunday a patient admitted to hospital in the United Kingdom died of NCoV - Novel Coronavirus.

The scientific community is facing its worst nightmare: a pathogenic virus with the capacity to make a species jump and then become transmissible from human to human. It is called NCoV, or Novel coronavirus.

First appearing in 2012, Novel Coronavirus is a new strain of the Coronavirus which causes a number of infections to humans and animals, the most common of which is the common cold. It also causes more pathogenic diseases such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).

The World Health Organization states that there have been twelve reported cases of Novel Coronavirus infection, occasioning SARI (Severe Acute Respiratory Infection), kidney failure, pericarditis and disseminated intravascular coagulation, depending on the case. These cases were distributed as follows: 2 cases in Qatar, 5 in Saudi Arabia, 2 in Jordan, 3 in the UK. Six of these twelve patients have died.

Are there more cases?

How are these things documented? The WHO has claimed that there were two initial cases in Saudi Arabia, one of whom died, and they were unrelated since the victims came from different parts of the country. Then there was a cluster of three cases in the same family (2 died) but another family member living in the same house who developed similar symptoms does not count because he tested negative by Polymerase Chain reaction tests.

Both cases in Jordan died, the two from Qatar survived, one of the three in the UK has died (this was a cluster from the same family).

But what about, in the WHO's own report, "the number of health care workers with pneumonia associated with the cases...now considered probable case(s)"?

They don't count either. And those in Norway? Why have they "disappeared" from the media?

The WHO admits that the appearance of pneumonia among healthcare workers and family members "increases the suspicion that person-to-person transmission may have occurred". In the WHO's own reaction to the recent cases in the UK, this is more than confirmed: "The United Kingdom (UK) has informed WHO of another confirmed case of infection with the novel coronavirus (NCoV). This is the third case confirmed in the country this month and is in the same family cluster as the two recently confirmed cases.  The latest confirmed case does not have recent travel history outside the UK".

The Novel Coronavirus is sufficiently serious to have the WHO instructing the affected countries to test for new cases and have enhanced surveillance measures and communication with neighbouring countries. With significant numbers of people travelling to the area for different reasons, watch out for the next pandemic.

Sources: WHO

Department of Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response, Global Influenza Programme

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2013 at 1:25pm

hi all news from WHO

Global Alert and Response (GAR)

Novel coronavirus infection - update

21 February 2013 - The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia has informed WHO of another confirmed case of infection with the novel coronavirus (NCoV).

The patient was hospitalized on 29 January 2013 and died on 10 February 2013. The case was laboratory-confirmed on 18 February 2013. Further investigation into this case is ongoing.

In the United Kingdom, the Health Protection Agency continues to investigate the family cluster where three members of the family tested positive for NCoV infection. One member of this family, who had an underlying health condition, has died.

To date, WHO has been informed of a total of 13 confirmed cases of human infection with NCoV, including seven deaths.

Based on the current situation and available information, WHO encourages all Member States (MS) to continue their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to carefully review any unusual patterns. Testing for the NCoV should be considered in patients with unexplained pneumonias, or in patients with unexplained, severe, progressive or complicated respiratory illness not responding to treatment, particularly in persons traveling from or resident in areas of the world known to be affected.

Any clusters of SARI or SARI in healthcare workers should be thoroughly investigated, regardless of where in the world they occur.

All MS are reminded to promptly assess and notify WHO of any new case or clusters of cases with NCoV infection.

WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event nor does it recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied.

WHO continues to closely monitor the situation.

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