WHO confirms 15th case of deadly new virus in Saudi Arabia

LONDON Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:06am IST

A electron microscope image of a coronavirus is seen in this undated picture provided by the Health Protection Agency in London February 19, 2013. REUTERS/Health Protection Agency/Handout/Files

A electron microscope image of a coronavirus is seen in this undated picture provided by the Health Protection Agency in London February 19, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Health Protection Agency/Handout/Files

Related Topics

LONDON (Reuters) - A Saudi man infected with a deadly new virus from the same family as SARS has died, becoming the ninth patient in the world to be killed the disease which has so far infected 15, the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday.

The 39-year-old developed symptoms of the novel coronavirus (NCoV) on February 24 and died on March 2, several days after being hospitalised, the WHO said in a disease outbreak update.

NCoV is from the same family of viruses as those that cause common colds and the one that caused the deadly outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that first emerged in Asia in 2003. The new virus is not the same as SARS, but similar to it and also to other coronaviruses found in bats.

The WHO first issued an international alert in September after the virus infected a Qatari man in Britain who had recently been in Saudi Arabia.

Symptoms of NCoV include severe respiratory illness, fever, coughing and breathing difficulties.

"Preliminary investigation indicated that the (latest Saudi)patient had no contact with previously reported cases of NCoV infection," the WHO said. "Other potential exposures are under investigation."

Nine of the 15 people confirmed to have been infected with NCoV have died. Most cases have been in the Middle East or in patients who had recently travelled there.

Research by scientists in Europe has found that NCoV is well adapted to infecting humans and may be treatable with medicines similar to the ones used for SARS, which killed a tenth of the 8,000 people it infected.

The Geneva-based WHO said it was monitoring the situation closely and urged its member states to continue surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections and to carefully review any unusual patterns.

"WHO is currently working with international experts and countries where cases have been reported to assess the situation and review recommendations for surveillance and monitoring," it said, adding that national authorities should "promptly assess and notify" it of any new NCoV cases. (Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

India-China Ties

Reuters Showcase

Scottish Referendum

Scottish Referendum

Scots vote on independence, United Kingdom's fate on knife-edge.  Full Article 

Nuclear Power

Nuclear Power

Developing world revives nuclear power prospects, but yet to commit.  Full Article 

India's Mars Mission

India's Mars Mission

Mars mission enters last lap; crucial test on Sept. 24.  Full Article 

Separatists' Demand

Separatists' Demand

Scotland’s referendum stirs Kashmiri demands for vote on future.  Full Article 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Fear and hope as Sierra Leone braces for three-day Ebola lockdown.  Full Article 

Alibaba IPO

Alibaba IPO

Alibaba set to price IPO shares amid investor frenzy.  Full Article 

Life of Sophia Loren

Life of Sophia Loren

Sophia Loren, Italy's national icon, turns 80 with book of memoirs.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage