Novel Coronavirus Claims Saudi Man’s Life, Toll Rises To Nine

By Staff Reporter on March 13, 2013 8:20 AM EDT

New deadly virus
A deadly virus has claimed its ninth victim in Saudi Arabia (Photo: Flickr.com/Ice Blade)

The deadly novel coronavirus (nCoV), from the same family as SARS, has claimed its ninth victim - a Saudi man.

The patient, a 39-year-old male, was infected with the virus and was hospitalized Feb. 28, 2013. The man died earlier this month, taking the toll of infected patients to 15, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced Tuesday.

"Preliminary investigation indicated that the patient had no contact with previously reported cases of nCoV infection. Other potential exposures are under investigation," the WHO report said.

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Coronavirus belongs to the same family as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which was first recognized in 2003. More than 700 people were killed by the SARS virus, which infected about 8,000 people across the globe.

Coronaviruses cause a wide range of illnesses in humans as well as animals. But the strain of novel coronavirus has never been identified in humans until it was reported in September last year. WHO issued an international alert after a Qatari man in Britain, who had been to Saudi Arabia, was found infected with the virus.

Till now, 15 cases have been reported with most of them reported in the Middle East. Three members belonging to the same family have been infected with the virus in the United Kingdom.  

So far, there are no reported cases of the novel Coronavirus infection in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The symptoms of the virus include severe respiratory illness, fever, cough and breathing troubles. European scientists have found that nCoV could be treated with medicines similar to those that were used to treat SARS virus, reports Reuters.

WHO is also monitoring the current situation and has asked its Member States (MS) to continue their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) as well as carefully review any unusual patterns of infection.

The organization is currently working with international experts and countries, where the cases have been reported, so as to assess the situation and provide recommendations for surveillance and monitoring.

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