Coronavirus variant from South Africa found in Idaho

Public health officials say an Idaho man has been infected with a variant of coronavirus first detected in South Africa.

The man had recently traveled overseas and is thought to have been exposed before returning to Idaho, state Department of Health and Welfare and Southwest District Health officials said. Officials are working to identify people who may have had close contact with the infected man.

The variant is believed to be more infectious and evidence is emerging that it may be more virulent than other variants of the coronavirus that are currently prevalent in Idaho. Public health officials are concerned about the South Africa variant because it contains a mutation of the virus’ characteristic spike protein, which is targeted by existing vaccines.

So far there have been at least 19 confirmed infections reported from 10 states with the variant first found in South Africa. Two other variants — one first discovered in California and another in the United Kingdom — were also recently found in wastewater tested from several Ada County cities. (AP)

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