The Virginia Department of Health reported Thursday that the first case of the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.351, which first emerged in South Africa in late 2020, was identified in a resident of Southwest Virginia.
The infected person, an adult, recently returned to Virginia after international travel.
The South African COVID-19 variant is associated with increased person-to-person transmission of the virus, but there is currently no evidence that infections with this variant cause more severe disease.
According to the VDH, this variant has been identified in nine other U.S. states.
Two other cases of this variant, as well as 12 cases of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7, which was first identified in the United Kingdom, have now been identified in Virginia.