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Health Officials Confirm First Known Case Of UK COVID-19 Variant In Texas

TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Health officials have confirmed the first known case of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 (the same variant discovered in the UK) in Texas.

Harris County Public Health issued a release stating the patient is a male between the ages of 30-40. He has no travel history and is stable. He was recently diagnosed with COVID-19. Results of genetic sequencing this week showed that the infection was caused by the variant.

He will remain in isolation until health officials clear him.

"The fact that this person had no travel history suggests this variant is already circulating in Texas," said Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS commissioner. "Genetic variations are the norm among viruses, and it's not surprising that it arrived here given how rapidly it spreads. This should make us all redouble our commitment to the infection prevention practices that we know work: masks any time you're around people you don't live with, social distancing, and personal and environmental hygiene."

The case is being investigated by Harris County Public Health and the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The strain first identified in the U.K. spreads more easily and quickly than other strains, according to the CDC. It was first spotted in September in southeastern England.

The current scientific evidence is that the variant does not cause more severe disease and that vaccines are expected to be effective against it. It is thought to be responsible for only a small proportion of the current COVID-19 cases in Texas and the United States.

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