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 Organisation said on
The 39-year-old developed symptoms of the novel coronavirus
(NCoV) on February 24 and died on March 2, several days after being hospitalised,
the WHO said in a disease outbreak update.
What cause the deadly
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."Nine of the 15 people confirmed to have been infected with
NCoV have died. Most cases have been in the Middle East or in patients who had
recently traveled there.
Findings the experts
Research by scientists in Europe has found that NCoV is well
adapted to infecting humans and may be treatable with medicines similar to the
ones used for Sars, which killed a tenth of the 8 000 people it infected.
The Geneva-based WHO said it was monitoring the situation
closely and urged its member states to continue surveillance for severe acute
respiratory infections and to carefully review any unusual patterns.
"WHO is currently working with international experts
and countries where cases have been reported to assess the situation and review
recommendations for surveillance and monitoring," it said, adding that
national authorities should "promptly assess and notify" it of any
new NCoV cases.