SARS-like Virus: New Cases Of The New Virus From The Same Family as SARS Reported

By on Nov 24, 2012 in Health, Middle East, Science, World Comments

A SARS-like virus which sparked a global alert in September causing the deäth of two people in Saudi Arabia has another four new cases identified and reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday, November 23, 2012.

“The additional cases have been identified as part of the enhanced surveillance in Saudi Arabia (3 cases, including 1 deäth) and Qatar (1 case),” the WHO said as quoted in a report.

Reports said that the SARS-like virus known as a coronavirus shares some of the symptoms of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS, which emerged in China in 2002. The new virus has no formal name, but scientists at the British and Dutch laboratories where it was identified refer to it as “London1_novel CoV 2012“.

Meanwhile, health officials said, they are investigating the new coronavirus to see if it was triggered by person-to-person spread.

“The timing of the cases in the Saudi cluster does raise that concern but when a cluster occurs in a setting such as a household where everyone has similar environmental exposures it can be very difficult to separate out exposure to the same environmental source versus spread from one person to another,”

The WHO also said in a report that they are on the process of reviewing the case definition to help health-care practitioners spot possible additional infections.

The health agency also advised countries to be on lookout for possible cases in their teritory, even for those people who have not traveled to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

“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. Member states should consider testing of patients with unexplained pneumonias for the new coronavirus even in the absence of travel or other associations with the two affected countries,” the WHO said in a statement as quoted in a report.

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