After a flu season that is likely to see a final death toll in the tens of thousands when the CDC releases the statistics in the Spring, a new virus has been identified by the British. The virus is believed to have originated in the Middle East. So far out of the eleven people infected with the new strain 45% of them have died.
The virus causes high fevers, coughing and difficulty in breathing.
The British has seen a case of a father passing the virus to a son which indicates this complex new virus can be transmitted person to person. At the moment, the virus is not 'highly infectious' but if it mutates it could sweep large populations within days.
The Los Angeles Times in an article by Emily Alpert reports:
"Health officials are checking on other relatives and healthcare workers who may have been exposed. The WHO has not recommended any special screening for travelers or any trade restrictions tied to the virus, but encouraged countries to monitor “any unusual patterns” in respiratory infections.
It is unclear how the new coronavirus originated and how it spreads. Research published in October found that the virus appears to be most closely related to similar infections in bats. One expert warned that while the existing virus is not believed to be highly infectious, it could still mutate into another form, making it much more contagious.
“At any moment the fire hydrant of human-to-human transmission cases could open,” University of Minnesota infectious diseases expert Michael Osterholm told the Associated Press. “This is definitely a `stay tuned' moment.”