Dutch case of rare infection Omicron that caused viral panic confirmed

Image copyright Netherlands Health Authority Image caption The Netherlands said the variant of the virus had been here for many years, rather than in recent months

The Netherlands has confirmed that the rare infection of a human brachial virus that had been identified in the UK earlier this year was already present in the country as far back as January.

The World Health Organisation said the first case of the virus had been identified among travellers in Texas.

The bacterium is transmitted through the faeces of infected animals.

The Dutch tests, done at King’s College London, confirmed the original British report.

It means the variant strain of the virus, known as Omicron – which became a global threat after the British virus was detected – is related to a strain from Hungary, the Spanish flu of 1918-19 and influenza A26 B.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The disease can kill without vaccination

The virus is named after the Netherlands, where it has been seen before.

Dutch authorities say some people infected with the variant infection may have potentially remained contagious for three to seven days after showing symptoms, including fever, headache, muscle pain, fatigue and rash.

Men are four times more likely to be infected with Omicron – or to experience death – than women.

Dr Witold Stoinski, a pathologist from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, said the virus was potentially a threat to humans everywhere, even those who had been vaccinated against flu.

He also said more research was needed on the illness, how it is transmitted, and what techniques could be used to prevent the spread of the illness.

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