Lifestyle & Belief

Sars-like virus contracted by British resident in 11th case recorded worldwide


A Qatari man was confirmed as having the SARS-like coronavirus, which health officials worry will spread globally.



LONDON, UK — A British resident was diagnosed with a SARS-like coronavirus this week and appears to have contracted it from a family member, marking the incident as a rare — and worrisome — case of human-to-human transmission.

The BBC reports that this is the 11th confirmed case of this particular disease in the world, which is similar to the deadly SARS virus, that killed hundreds in China in 2008.

It is the third incident of this virus in a British citizen. Most previous cases were linked to travel in the Middle East, says Reuters, while five of those who have contracted the disease have died.

GlobalPost Senior Correspondent in London Barry Nield said, however, that experts believe the relatively low transmission rate to date indicates the contagion risk is relatively low.

Nield said doctors say this is backed up by the fact that the latest victim was already suffering from an underlying health condition that could have increased their risk of exposure.

"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," said Professor John Watson, head of the respiratory diseases department at the UK's Health Protection Agency.

Read more from GlobalPost: Sars-like virus infects its tenth victim

On Feb. 11, it was announced that a British man had contracted the same rare, SARS-resembling virus after a trip to Saudi Arabia, and remains under intensive care.