Travellers

News

14 February 2013

Further case of novel coronavirus 2012 reported in the United Kingdom

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has confirmed a further case of novel coronavirus 2012 in a United Kingdom (UK) resident who does not have any recent travel history [1]. The patient is a family contact of the case reported on 11 February 2013, and is understood to have an existing medical condition that may make them more susceptible to respiratory infections. The patient was admitted to hospital on 9 February and is receiving intensive care treatment.

Close contacts have been identified and are being managed as per HPA guidance.

Advice for travellers

This confirmed case without a recent travel history suggests that human-to-human transmission has occurred in the UK. However the risk of UK residents contracting infection in the UK is very low. There continue to be no travel restrictions to the Arabian Peninsula and the risk to travellers remains very low.

Travellers returning from the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding countries, with mild respiratory symptoms are most likely to have a common respiratory illness such as a cold.  However, if severe respiratory symptoms develop, such as shortness of breath, within ten days of returning from these countries, medical advice should be sought from the GP or NHS Direct. Returning travellers should mention which countries they have visited.

Further information is available on the HPA website.

Advice for health professionals

Health professionals should, as always, take a detailed travel history when evaluating an ill returned traveller.

The Health Protection Agency has developed advice for health professionals in relation to novel coronavirus 2012, including an algorithm with case definitions for investigation and management of patients, and infection control advice.

Where patients meet the possible case definition, clinicians should inform their local Health Protection Unit, which will be able to assist in the risk assessment and advise on what samples should be taken.

Standard transmission based precautions for respiratory tract infections should be instituted if a possible case is suspected.

Clinical queries about the management of potential cases of severe respiratory infections in people who have recently visited Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Jordan, or the neighbouring countries of Bahrain, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Syria, UAE and Yemen, should be directed in the first instance to the local infectious disease physician or microbiologist.  The national Imported Fever Service is available to local infectious disease physicians or microbiologists should specialist advice be needed - tel – 0844 7788990.

Reference

1. Health Protection Agency. Further UK case of novel coronavirus. 13 February 2013. [Accessed 14 February 2013]. Available at: http://www.hpa.org.uk/NewsCentre/NationalPressReleases/

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