* 10 cases confirmed worldwide since virus first identified
* New British patient had been in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia
* Five of 10 patients with new coronavirus have died
* WHO says new case shows virus is "persistent"
(Adds comment and details from World Health Organisation)
By Kate Kelland
LONDON, Feb 11 A new virus from the same family
as SARS that sparked a global alert last September has been
found in another patient in Britain, health officials said on
The latest case of infection with the new virus known as a
coronavirus brings the total number confirmed globally to 10, of
whom five have died.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said the latest
infection was "a sporadic case" and did not alter the WHO's risk
assessment. It added, however, that the new case "does indicate
that the virus is persistent".
The British patient, who recently had travelled to Saudi
Arabia and Pakistan, is receiving intensive care treatment in
hospital in the city of Manchester, northern England.
The new virus, which the WHO refers to as novel coronavirus
or NCoV, shares some of the symptoms of SARS, or Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome - a coronavirus which emerged in China in
2002 and killed about a tenth of the 8,000 people it infected
Symptoms include severe respiratory illness, fever, coughing
and breathing difficulties.
The WHO said the new patient, who is a resident of the
United Kingdom, developed symptoms on Jan. 26. A series of
laboratory tests of respiratory specimens showed the patient had
contracted both an H1N1 swine flu infection and a confirmed NCoV
NCoV was identified when the World Health Organisation (WHO)
issued an international alert in September 2012 saying a virus
previously unknown in humans had infected a Qatari man who had
recently been in Saudi Arabia.
Britain's Health Protection Agency (HPA) said among the 10
laboratory confirmed cases to date, five had been in Saudi
Arabia, with three deaths; two were in Jordan, where both
patients died; two were in Britain, where both are receiving
treatment; and one was in Germany in a patient from Qatar who
had since been discharged from medical care.
The agency said in a statement it was providing advice to
ensure the latest patient was treated appropriately and
healthcare staff were protected. Anyone who had contact with the
patient was being tracked to have a health checkup.
"Our assessment is that the risk associated with novel
coronavirus to the general UK population remains extremely low
and the risk to travellers to the Arabian Peninsula and
surrounding countries remains very low," the HPA said.
Based on the current situation, the WHO said all member
states should continue surveillance for severe acute respiratory
infections and investigate any unusual patterns.
"Testing for the new coronavirus of patients with
unexplained pneumonias, or patients with severe, progressive or
complicated illness not responding to treatment, should be
considered - especially in persons residing in or returning from
the Arabian peninsula and neighbouring countries," it said.
Coronaviruses typically are spread like other respiratory
infections, such as flu, travelling in airborne droplets when an
infected person coughs or sneezes.
The WHO said in September that from its initial
investigations, it appeared this virus did not spread easily
from person to person.
The WHO reiterated on Monday that at this stage there was no
need for any travel or trade restrictions, or for any special
screening at border points.
(Reporting by Kate Kelland; Editing by Michael Roddy)