WHO revises up death toll from SARS-like virus

The World Health Organization on Tuesday revised up the death toll from the SARS-like coronavirus from 18 to 20 worldwide, but said the two additional fatalities in Saudi Arabia were old cases.

"These are two deaths which are retrospective. They're from an earlier outbreak," WHO spokesman Glenn Thomas told reporters in Geneva, without providing further details.

Earlier Tuesday, the Saudi health ministry said four more cases of the SARS-like virus had been detected in the kingdom, bringing the number of cases there to 28 out of a global 38 cases.

While the virus has been deadliest in , where 15 people have died, cases have also been reported in Jordan, where two people have died; Germany, where one person has died; Britain, where two people have died; and France, where two patients are now in hospital in the northern city of Lille.

The virus is a cousin of (SARS), which triggered a scare 10 years ago when it erupted in east Asia, leaping to humans from animal hosts and eventually killing some 800 people.

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