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Familial Beta Coronavirus Cluster In The UK
Recombinomics Commentary 16:00
February 13, 2013

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) can confirm a further case of novel coronavirus infection in a family member of the case announced on Monday 11 February. The patient, who is a UK resident, does not have any recent travel history and is currently receiving intensive care treatment at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.

The above comments confirm a familial beta coronavirus cluster in the UK.  The index case (60M) developed symptoms in Saudi Arabia prior his return to the UK, supporting human to human transmission to the latest confirmed case.  The index case was co-infected with H1N1pdm09.  Details on the collection date for the sample positive for H1N1pdm09 has not been released, which is also true for the sequence of the influenza virus.

The HPA announcement and associated media reports have been silent on testing of the latest case for H1N1pdm09.  However, the infection of a relative in the UK eliminates most of the unfounded speculation that the cases and clusters of novel coronavirus infections involve an environment or animal source.

The latest case forms the third cluster, and raises the number of the confirmed cases that are contacts of other confirmed cases to 7 (out of 11).

Details on influenza testing of the latest case, as well as release of the H1N1pdm09 sequence, from the index case, would be useful.

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