There is an 11th patient confirmed to be infected with the newly discovered coronavirus in the UK.
As we reported yesterday, a virus that was first identified in the UK and found in patients in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the UK, infected it's second patient. Today reports from the UK Health protection Agency have confirmed a third case.
This person is a family member of the second UK infectee and the case confirms that the virus is capable of human to human transmission. The new patient had not visited Saudi Arabia, nor Pakistan, like the second UK victim but was in close proximity one of the previous UK patients, one of which died in June.
Doctors said that the new patient may have been at increased risk because of an underlying medical illness and is currently in Birmingham hospital in intensive care.
"Although this case provides strong evidence for person to person transmission, the risk of infection in most circumstances is still considered to be very low," John Watson, head of the respiratory diseases department at the Health Protection Agency, said in a statement. "If (the) novel coronavirus were more infectious, we would have expected to have seen a larger number of cases."
Michael Osterholm, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Minnesota, warned the virus could be adapting into a more transmissible form.
"At any moment the fire hydrant of human-to-human transmission cases could open," he said. "This is definitely a 'stay tuned' moment."
He noted that before SARS sparked a worldwide epidemic, there were a handful of human-to-human cases, until something happened, like a virus mutation, which triggered an explosion of cases.
The WHO says the virus is probably more widespread than just the Middle East and has advised countries to test any people with unexplained pneumonia.
The new virus is similar to one that bats transmit, but researchers are wondering if camels or goats could be a vector for transmission to humans.