After a Japanese woman died of SARS-like coronavirus, the country is bracing for the next possible threat, a bat coronavirus named Geneva 9 that is believed to be spreading among bats in Japan. The news came as Japan’s public health agency revealed that a 43-year-old woman was infected with the virus, on Feb. 15, and died Feb. 9. She is the second person to die from the virus, according to AFP.

The news comes as another man, a 38-year-old plumber who is also from Tokyo, is seriously ill and admitted to a hospital. He may have contracted the virus from his girlfriend, according to a health agency official. “We may have some possibility to determine that it’s the virus’ first victim,” the official said, while warning that this isn’t necessarily proof that the man’s girlfriend is the virus’ first victim. She has been quarantined, but the two have reportedly had a long-term romantic relationship. Health officials are also unsure how long the bat has been in Japan.

Doctors have identified MERS coronavirus from bats that shows symptoms like fever, and respiratory distress. The virus is linked to a handful of past cases, and scientists believe it only spreads between bats and humans, not between humans and infected animals. There have been 86 reported cases in the Middle East, 21 of them fatal. The World Health Organization believes there is a small but serious risk of MERS virus infection among all kinds of animals, and that it poses no significant risk to human health. In 2016, WHO recommended a global ban on bat hunting.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.


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