CDC advises US health officials to keep an eye out for novel coronavirus

The US Center for Disease Control has issued warnings to health officials about novel coronavirus that has sickened and killed people in the Middle East and in the United Kingodm.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned US health officials to be on the lookout for novel coronavirus, an acute respiratory infection similar to SARS that has thus far infected 14 people in the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

No one in the US has yet to come down with the illness, but the CDC is taking no chances: in a recent website update, health authorities advised that those recently returned from the Middle East whose "respiratory illness remains unexplained and who meet criteria for 'patient under investigation' should be reported immediately to CDC through state and local health departments."

Read more from GlobalPost: SARS-like virus confirmed in Qatari man

The UK coronavirus appears to have traveled from a man who returned from the Middle East to his family members, prompting the CDC to additionally advise that "close contacts" of recent travelers who come down with severe acute lower respiratory illness should be evaluated for the illness.

The virus, somewhat similar to SARS but verified as a different virus, appears to be capable of transmission from human to human - a worrying reality that world health officials are keeping close tabs on.

Novel coronavirus, like SARS, appears to be most similar to a virus found in bats, the CDC notes on its overview page for the illness.

Reuters notes that neither CDC or the World Health Organization have issued travel advisories for the still-rare virus thus far.