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Community Spread Of U.K. Virus Variant ‘Possible’, Butte County Public Health Says

Science News For Students

Health officials in Butte County say there’s a possibility community spread of the B.1.1.7 strain of the virus that first emerged in the U.K. is happening in Butte County. 


The variant is considered to spread more easily and quickly than other virus variants.


Butte County Public Health Director Danette York told reporters Thursday that the first case of the U.K. variant was recently detected in the county. 

She added that officials determined the person contracted the virus while traveling outside the area.


“Now that it’s in Butte County, it’s possible that there will be community spread,” York said. “So, we’ll be watching it closely. Very few labs are able to test for it. It’s quite the complex test, and so we may or may not know if and when there is community spread.”


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says experts in the U.K. report the variant may be more deadly compared to other variant viruses, but more studies are needed.


Local health officials say COVID-19 vaccines that are currently available are proven to prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death. They say there’s no indication the vaccines are less effective against the U.K. variant.