A 60-year-old British man is under intensive care in a UK hospital for both a novel coronavirus (CoV) infection and influenza, marking the 10th known illness caused by the novel virus, European and British authorities reported today.
The man had visited Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in December and January, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in a statement. All nine previous novel CoV cases, all reported last year, arose in or had links to the Arabian Peninsula. Five of the nine cases were fatal.
The British patient fell ill on Jan 26, 6 days after arriving in Saudi Arabia, after having been in Pakistan from Dec 16 until Jan 20, the ECDC said. After returning to England, he was hospitalized on Jan 31 with a severe lower respiratory tract illness. Lab tests subsequently revealed both the CoV and a 2009 H1N1 flu infection, the agency said.
The UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) said the man was hospitalized in Manchester. The ECDC said he required extracorporeal membrane oxygenation—a heart-lung machine—starting Feb 5.
John Watson, MB BS, MSc, of the HPA said any risk related to the novel virus remains "extremely low" for the general UK population and that the risk for travelers to the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding countries is "very low."What interests me about NCoV (as we're now calling it) is not its potential threat, but the opportunity it gives us to track and study a new viral disease and thereby learn more about such diseases in general. That, in turn, will teach us more about ourselves.