(REUTERS) — A fourth person in Britain has contracted a potentially fatal SARS-like virus which was unknown in humans until a few months ago, but health officials said on Friday the risk to the population remained very low.
Confirming the third British case this week of infection the new virus - known as novel coronavirus, or NCoV - the Health Protection Agency said the patient was one of a cluster of three in the same family.
This latest case brings the total number of confirmed cases globally to 12, of which four have been diagnosed in Britain, the HPA said. Of the total, five have died. Most of the infected lived or had recently been in the Middle East.
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NCoV was identified when the World Health Organization (WHO) issued an international alert in September 2012 saying a virus previously unknown in humans had infected a Qatari man in Britain who had recently been in Saudi Arabia.