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

March 13, 2013 00:19

LONDON - 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 Organization said on Tuesday.

The 39-year-old developed symptoms of the novel coronavirus (NCoV) on Feb. 24 and died on March 2, several days after being hospitalized, 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."

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