Deadly Coronavirus Poses New Public Health Risk, CDC Warns

U.S. health officials are warning that there is a new deadly, cold-like virus that may be spreading from person to person, posing a potentially serious public health risk. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the warning in its March 7 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, indicating that a severe respiratory illness discovered in the middle-east last summer has now been detected in the United Kingdom, suggesting it is spread from one human to another.

The outbreak involves a form of the coronavirus, and health investigators have linked it to at least 14 illnesses and eight deaths worldwide. However, no cases have yet been reported in the United States.

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There are many forms of the coronavirus, which causes some common colds and a version of it is responsible for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) as well. However, this version was unknown before September 2012 and it appears to be especially deadly.

Most of the illnesses and deaths from the coronavirus have occurred in the Middle-East, but there have been three reported cases in one family in Britain, which began after a 60-year-old man traveled to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, apparently bringing the illness home with him. Two other family members became ill later with the same virus. One of them died.

The CDC has issued an updated treatment guidance on the agency’s coronavirus website and is asking health care professionals to immediately report to the CDC any patient with an unexplained respiratory illness who contracted it within 10 days of traveling from the Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries or those who contract a respiratory illness after coming in contact with them.


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