A reporter sits in front a projected image showing virus infected cells inspected under a microscope during a news conference. (Photo : Reuters)
After killing five people in the Middle East last year, a mysterious new SARS-related virus - dubbed a coronavirus - has infected its first victim of the year in the U.K., country officials confirmed Monday, according to CBS News. The new coronavirus case is the 10th such infection since the virus was first discovered last year.
The infected patient is a resident of the U.K. who had been traveling recently to the Middle East and Pakistan, according to the Christian Post. Victims of the new coronavirus typically exhibit symptoms like "acute breathing problems and kidney failure."
"Our assessment is that the risk associated with novel coronavirus to the general UK population remains extremely low and the risk to travelers to the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding countries remains very low," said Professor John Watson, head of respiratory diseases department at Britain's health protection agency, in a written statement.
"No travel restrictions are in place but people who develop severe respiratory symptoms, such as shortness of breath, within ten days of returning from these countries should seek medical advice and mention which countries they have visited."
There is currently no proof that the virus can spread between humans, but some scientists suspect that humans are vulnerable to catching the virus from coming into contact with animals such as camels and bats, CBS News reported. This is the first confirmed case of the new virus outside of the Middle East, as every other identified instance of the new coronavirus has been linked through the region, according to the Post. However, as the World Health Organization cautioned last year, the virus had the potential spread beyond the Middle East region as they predicted it had a "a complicated transmission chain" and could eventually spread wider than was previously thought possible. At the time, the WHO recommended nations test anyone for the virus with unexplained pneumonia.
Of the other confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, five were contracted by patients in Saudi Arabia, three of which were fatal, two were found in Qatar, and another two fatal cases were discovered in Jordan, CBS News reported.