Of Dozen People With New SARS-Like Virus, 6 Dead

But threat remains low even after death of UK patient

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 19, 2013 9:57 AM CST

(Newser) – A UK patient has died after being infected with a SARS-like virus, meaning 50% of the known victims of the disease have now died. But the BBC reports that even with the staggering mortality rate, the novel coronavirus isn't considered a major threat because it doesn't easily move between humans. Still, such transmissions have likely occurred: A UK man apparently became infected after travel to the Middle East and Pakistan; he appears to have transmitted to two family members, including his son, who died.

The son had a compromised immune system. "Given the previous health status of the patient, it may be premature to assume the death was a result of the infection, but even if it was, it is unlikely to signify a change in the virus," a doctor says. "No general virus spread has been reported, meaning the risk to the public remains very low."

This undated image released by the British Health Protection Agency shows an electron microscope image of a coronavirus.
This undated image released by the British Health Protection Agency shows an electron microscope image of a coronavirus.   (AP Photo/Health Protection Agency)
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