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Patient died of Sars-like coronavirus in Britain


21:10, February 19, 2013

LONDON, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- A patient diagnosed with Sars-like virus has died in a Birmingham hospital, authorities confirmed on Tuesday.

According to the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham (QEHB), the patient was being treated for so-called novel coronavirus and passed away on Sunday morning.

The hospital said the patient had had previous underlying health issues.

The patient was immuno-compromised and is believed to have contracted the virus from a relative who was being treated for the condition in a Manchester hospital.

This is the sixth fatality from the illness in the world so far. In the 12 people currently confirmed to have been infected with the disease, half have now died.

QEHB said that it is working closely with the British Health Protection Agency (HPA), which is following up other household members and contacts of this case.

"Although this case appears to be due to person-to-person transmission, the risk of infection in contacts in most circumstances is still considered to be low," Professor John Watson, head of the respiratory diseases department at the HPA, said last week.

Coronaviruses are causes of the common cold but can also include more severe illness, such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). This new coronavirus was first identified in September 2012 in a patient who died from a severe respiratory infection in June of the year.

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