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Sat May 11, 2013 3:50AM
The World Health Organization says it is closely monitoring the novel coronavirus virus.

The World Health Organization says it is closely monitoring the novel coronavirus virus.

Saudi health authorities say two new cases of infection with a deadly new respiratory virus related to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) have been found in the country’s eastern region of al-Ahsa. Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health announced on Friday that a 58-year-old man confirmed to have contracted the virus. He was treated and discharged from hospital on May 8. The other patient was a 42-year-old man, who is still under careful treatment at hospital with a stable condition. Fifteen people in Saudi Arabia have been infected by the coronavirus virus, with 7 deaths. The novel coronavirus virus, also known as nCoV-EMC, is a cousin of SARS. The virus first emerged in the Middle East, and was discovered on September 2012 in a Qatari man who had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia. Since September 2012, the World Health Organization has been informed of 30 confirmed cases of the virus, and 18 of the patients have died. Cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE, Qatar, Britain and Germany, and health officials have said the virus has likely already spread between people in some circumstances. Health authorities are trying to find out how humans are contracting and spreading the virus and what the best remedy to treat it is. It does not appear to be as contagious as SARS, which killed some 800 people in a 2003 epidemic. The novel coronavirus virus is most closely related to a bat virus. Scientists are considering whether bats or other animals like goats or camels are a possible source of infection. The WHO has advised countries to test any people with unexplained pneumonia. MP/HN
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