Colds and flu

26 November 2012

6 cases of new Sars-like virus

A new coronavirus from the same family as Sars which has now killed two people in Saudi Arabia and Qatar and the total number of cases has risen to six, the WHO has said.

0

A new coronavirus from the same family as Sars which was discovered and sparked a global alert in September has now killed two people in Saudi Arabia and Qatar and the total number of cases has risen to six, the World Health Organization said.

The UN health agency issued a global alert in late September saying a virus previously unknown in humans had infected a 49-year-old Qatari who had recently travelled to Saudi Arabia, where another man with the same virus had died.

On Friday, it said in a disease outbreak update that it had registered four more cases and that one of the new patients had died. "The additional cases have been identified as part of the enhanced surveillance in Saudi Arabia (3 cases, including 1 death) and Qatar (1 case)," the WHO said.

Similar symptoms as Sars

The new virus shares some of the symptoms of Sars, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which emerged in China in 2002 and killed around a tenth of the 8 000 people it infected worldwide.

Among the symptoms in the confirmed cases are a fever, coughing and breathing difficulties. The WHO said investigations were being conducted into the likely source of the infection, the method of exposure, and the possibility of human-to-human transmission of the virus.

"Close contacts of the recently confirmed cases are being identified and followed-up," it said.

The WHO urged all its member states to continue surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections.

"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 said.

(Reuters Health, November 2012)

Read more:

Graphic: Symptoms of Sars

 

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Ask the Expert

Flu expert

Dr Heidi van Deventer completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 2004 at the University of Stellenbosch.
She has additional training in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) as well as biostatistics and epidemiology.

Dr Van Deventer is currently working as a researcher at the Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.
This forum will be closed until 5 January 2015.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules