New SARS-like virus can probably pass person-to-person
Monday, May 13, 2013 - 01:19
May 13 - New SARS-like virus can probably pass person-to-person with Saudi Arabia having the biggest cluster of cases. Marie-Claire Fennessy reports.
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Here in eastern Saudi Arabia, three days after his father died from a respiratory infection, Hussein Al-Sheikh began to feel feverish.
(SOUNDBITE)(English) HUSSEIN AL-SHEIKH, SAYING:
"After my dad passed away, the first one was me (infected) I felt really sick so I admitted in ICU, then after me my brother who got sick and now he is still in ICU and hopefully he is going to get better, then my sister."
It emerged his father was likely a victim of novel coronavirus, a new SARS-like disease.
Of the four Sheikh family members who fell sick, only one, Abdullah has tested positive for the virus.
The samples from the other three, including their father, are still being tested.
The virus first emerged in the Gulf last year and has claimed 18 lives so far.
The World Health Organisation said it seemed likely a new coronavirus could be passed between humans, but only after prolonged contact.
(SOUNDBITE)(English) WHO ASSISTANT DIRECTOR GENERAL, KEIJI FUKUDA, SAYING:
"Of most concern however is the fact that the different clusters seen in multiple countries increasingly support the hypothesis that when there is close contact, this novel coronavirus can transmit from person to person."
Britain and France have also reported cases in people who had recently been in the Middle East.
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