WHO calls on France to stay calm amid SARS-like virus scare

May 14, 2013

The World Health Organisation on Monday called on people in France, where two confirmed cases of the new SARS-like virus were recorded at the weekend, to stay calm and not overburden hospitals for fear of the deadly virus to allow for proper treatment of those actually infected.

"We need the health system to be able to take care of those (infected) patients and people who legitimately have this disease... We do not want to overburden the health system," WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told AFP.

"There have only been less than a handful of cases in France so far... The chances are very small that anyone in France has this disease."

The , known as nCoV-EMC, is a cousin of the virus that causes (SARS), which killed nearly 800 people in the Far East in 2002-03.

In all, 34 cases have been reported worldwide since the virus was first detected in September 2012, with 18 of the victims dying, mostly in Saudi Arabia.

While the virus has been deadliest in Saudi Arabia, cases have also been reported in Jordan, Germany, Britain and France.

Hartl said the WHO currently sees no reason to change its travel recommendations because of the .

"We have not seen general transmission in the community, again we have only seen transmission among very, very close contacts," he said. "So from that point of view the risk is very small and there is no reason yet to make any changes to our recommendations".

Explore further: Three new cases of SARS-like virus in Saudi Arabia

Related Stories

France fears more cases of deadly SARS-like virus

May 9, 2013

French health authorities said on Thursday they feared the country's first case of a new SARS-like virus that has killed 18 people, mostly in Saudi Arabia, may have infected two other people.

SARS-like virus in Saudi has killed 15

May 12, 2013

Fifteen people in Saudi Arabia have died from a SARS-like virus out of 24 people who contracted it since last August, Health Minister Abdullah al-Rabia said on Sunday.

Saudi detects four new SARS-like cases

May 14, 2013

Four more cases of the deadly coronavirus have been detected in Saudi Arabia, the health ministry said, raising the number of people infected from the SARS-like virus in the kingdom to 28, including 15 fatalities.

Recommended for you

Monkeys in Asia harbor virus from humans, other species

November 19, 2015

When it comes to spreading viruses, bats are thought to be among the worst. Now a new study of nearly 900 nonhuman primates in Bangladesh and Cambodia shows that macaques harbor more diverse astroviruses, which can cause ...

One-step test for hepatitis C virus infection developed

November 14, 2015

UC Irvine Health researchers have developed a cost-effective one-step test that screens, detects and confirms hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Dr. Ke-Qin Hu, director of hepatology services, will present findings at the ...


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.