A British man who contracted the new coronavirus on a business trip spread the virus to 11 other people from three countries, according to news reports.
The man, who is in his 50s, had visited Singapore for a sales conference from Jan. 20 to Jan. 22, according to The Guardian. A little more than 100 people attended the conference, and one participant was from Wuhan, the Chinese city where the outbreak of the new coronavirus, called 2019-nCoV, is thought to have originated. Officials believe the British man became infected with 2019-nCoV at the conference.
Not knowing he had contracted the virus, the man traveled from Singapore to a French ski resort, where he stayed with family from Jan. 24 to Jan. 28, The Guardian reported.
It was at this resort that the man likely spread the virus to 11 other contacts. These include five people who tested positive for the virus in France, four people who tested positive for the virus in the U.K. and one person who tested positive for the virus in Spain.
Given how many coronavirus cases are connected to the British man, he seems to be a superspreader, or someone who passes on a pathogen to an unusually large number of people. Previous studies have found that people infected with 2019-nCoV spread the virus to just two other people, on average.
The man is now hospitalized in London, according to The Guardian. Officials are continuing to track down people who had contact with the man, such as those who were on his returning flight to the U.K.
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Originally published on Live Science.
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Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.