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Mild Beta Coronavirus UK Case Raises Pandemic Concerns
Recombinomics Commentary 20:30
February 15, 2013

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) can confirm a third case of novel coronavirus infection in a family cluster, following the confirmed diagnosis of two cases announced earlier this week. The patient, who is a UK resident and does not have any recent travel history, is recovering from a mild respiratory illness and is currently well.

The above HPA confirmation expand the latest novel beta coronavirus cluster to three, which includes the first confirmation of mild case, significantly increasing the pandemic risk.  This cluster clearly signals human to human (H2H) transmission, because the index case (60M) developed symptoms while performing Umrah in Saudi Arabia.  Therefore, the confirmation of the virus in his son in England, who has no recent travel outside of the country, confirms the H2H transmission, which also applies to the third family member.

However, the fact that the latest case was mild, suggests that the symptomatic health care workers associated with the first case treated in the UK (a Qatar resident who also developed symptoms while performing Umrah last August) were also infected, but tested negative due to less than ideal collection dates.  Similarly, the cluster in Jordan was also likely significantly larger that the 2 confirmed fatal cases and the many contacts with severe cases of pneumonia, who also tested negative.

The lab confirmed mild case also suggests that many of the symptomatic cases linked to the Haaj were also infected, even though nasal swabs were negative.

Expansion of testing of milder cases is now warranted, as is testing of cases that are H1N1pdm09 positive, which was found in the index case of the most recent cluster.

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