UK Coronavirus mutation B117 found 50 times in the Netherlands
Public health agency RIVM said that about 50 people in the Netherlands have been infected with the B117 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, up from 11 last week. The mutation, which was first discovered in the United Kingdom, is believed to be at least 55 percent more contagious than the strain more common to the Netherlands.
“The new coronavirus variant has been found in six people across the country who have recently been to the UK,” the RIVM said in a statement.
About thirty of the people infected were linked to the Willibrord primary school in Bergschenhoek, a small town near Rotterdam. There were also infections at another school, CBS De Acker, which shares a building with Willibrord.
For over a week, Erasmus Medical Center, GGD Rotterdam-Rijnmond and the RIVM have been encouraging the parents, students, staff and volunteers in the Willibrord school community to get tested for the B117 mutation at a special location in the Rotterdam The Hague Airport. The study will be expanded to include child care organizations which share facilities with Willibrord.
“We do not yet know whether children with the British variant infect adults more often,” said Marion Koopmans, a virologist at the Erasmus MC. “It will be a big task to find out, but we hope to be able to tell you more about it as soon as possible,” she told AD.
Thus far, the health complaints include symptoms of a fever and cough. None of the 50 infected with the mutation have required hospitalization. “The variant appears to be more contagious, but so far there is no reason to assume that the course of the disease is different or more serious than with the variant that is currently most commonly found in the Netherlands,” the RIVM said.
The infection has also been found six times in the Amsterdam region, and also in Nijmegen and now Leeuwarden.
Between 350 and 500 samples are being tested weekly to determine the spread of the B117 mutation.