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South African coronavirus mutant found in Idaho

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Boise, Idaho (AP) —Public health officials say a man in Idaho was infected with the first variant of the coronavirus detected in South Africa.

The man has recently traveled abroad and is believed to have been exposed before returning to Idaho, the state’s Ministry of Health and Southwestern health officials said. Authorities worked to identify people who may have had close contact with infected men.

This variant is considered to be more infectious, and there is evidence that it may be more virulent than the other variants of the coronavirus currently prevalent in Idaho. Public health officials are concerned because South African variants contain mutations in the characteristic peplomer of viruses targeted by existing vaccines.

To date, the first subspecies found in South Africa has reported at least 19 confirmed infections in 10 states. Two other variants (one first discovered in California and one in the United Kingdom) were also recently found in wastewater tested from several cities in Ada County.


“It’s not surprising to find this virus in Idaho,” state epidemiologist Dr. Christine Hahn said in a prepared statement. “As we learned from Boise City’s wastewater testing program this week, various strains have arrived in the state. We wear masks, physically distance, wash hands frequently, and get sick in Aida Juan. It reminds me of being at home. In addition to being vaccinated when it becomes available, these actions are the best we can do now. “

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