Evidence is mounting that a new SARS-like virus identified in September may be capable of spreading in a person-to-person fashion, reports Reuters. The novel coronavirus, or NCoV, has now infected 11 people worldwide, killing five of them. Ten of those people had traveled to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, or Pakistan, but the 11th, a UK resident, has no such travel history; however, he did come in close contact with a patient, and has a medical condition that could have upped his risk of infection, reports the AP.
Though person-to-person transmission is troubling, the World Health Organization says the risk of infection remains relatively low, and it is not recommending travel restrictions or border screening. "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," adds a British health official. The new coronavirus is most closely related to a bat virus, and scientists are considering whether bats or other animals like goats or camels are a possible source of infection. (Read more SARS stories.)