One more dead, three sick with mystery virus: WHO

November 23, 2012

Another person has died of a mysterious respiratory virus and three more cases have been discovered in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the World Health Organisation said Friday.

"This brings the total of laboratory-confirmed cases to six," the Geneva-based UN agency said in a statement.

A Saudi man died from the novel in June and a Qatari man was hospitalised in London with the virus after a trip to Saudi Arabia.

The WHO has previously confirmed that the new strain was part of the coronavirus family, which also includes the deadly as well as the common cold.

What sets the apart from SARS is that it causes rapid , the WHO said.

In view of the small number of cases with little connection between them, the WHO has previously said the virus did not appear to be very contagious, but it stressed Friday that many cases might be going undetected.

The Geneva-based meanwhile said that only the two most recently confirmed cases in Saudi Arabia were so far seen as epidemiologically linked, since they were both from the "same family, living in the same household".

"Preliminary investigations indicate that these two cases presented with similar symptoms of illness. One died and the other recovered," the organisation said.

It noted however that two other members of the same family had presented similar symptoms—one of whom had died—but stressed that the person who lived had tested negative for the novel coronavirus while the test on the deceased was still pending.

In the new Qatari case, the patient had been sent to Germany in October for treatment at a special lung hospital and had recovered, Germany's national public health institute said in a statement.

The WHO called Friday on countries to "continue their surveillance for severe " in general, adding that it was working to provide guidance related specifically to the novel coronavirus.

"Until more information is available, it is prudent to consider that the virus is likely more widely distributed than just the two countries which have identified cases," it cautioned.

Countries "should consider testing of patients with unexplained pneumonias for the new coronavirus even in the absence of travel or other associations with the two affected countries," it said.

According to a study published by the journal of the American Society for Microbiology earlier this week, the mystery virus appears to be most closely linked to viruses found in bats.

"The virus is most closely related to viruses in bats found in Asia, and there are no human viruses closely related to it," Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Center in The Netherlands, who led the study, told the journal.

"Therefore, we speculate that it comes from an animal source," he added.

Explore further: New mystery virus not easily transmitted: WHO

Related Stories

New mystery virus not easily transmitted: WHO

September 28, 2012

A new mysterious respiratory virus that has killed at least one person and left another in critical condition does not appear very contagious, the World Health Organisation said Friday.

Saudi Arabia confirms 2nd case of SARS-like virus

November 5, 2012

(AP)—Saudi Arabia's Health Ministry has confirmed that a second person in the kingdom has contracted a new respiratory virus related to SARS, bringing to three the number of those sickened by it in the Gulf region in recent ...

Saudi man cured of SARS family virus, ministry says

November 4, 2012

A Saudi man has been cured after he was diagnosed with a mystery illness from the same family as the deadly SARS virus and from which one person died, the kingdom's health ministry said on Sunday.

Recommended for you

Zika virus infection alters human and viral RNA

October 20, 2016

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have discovered that Zika virus infection leads to modifications of both viral and human genetic material. These modifications—chemical tags known as ...

Food-poisoning bacteria may be behind Crohn's disease

October 19, 2016

People who retain a particular bacterium in their gut after a bout of food poisoning may be at an increased risk of developing Crohn's disease later in life, according to a new study led by researchers at McMaster University.

Neurodevelopmental model of Zika may provide rapid answers

October 19, 2016

A newly published study from researchers working in collaboration with the Regenerative Bioscience Center at the University of Georgia demonstrates fetal death and brain damage in early chick embryos similar to microcephaly—a ...

Scientists uncover new facets of Zika-related birth defects

October 17, 2016

In a study that could one day help eliminate the tragic birth defects caused by Zika virus, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have elucidated how the virus attacks the brains of newborns, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.