Health officials confirm four more cases of SARS-like virus
Three of the cases occurred in Saudi Arabia and the fourth was a man from Qatar who traveled to Germany for treatment. Qatar and Saudi Arabia are the only two countries to have citizens test positive for the virus, the Canadian Press reports.
The WHO advised other countries to be on the lookout for potential cases.
"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," the WHO said, according to the Canadian Press. "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."
There are six confirmed cases of the disease in total, including the deaths of two Saudi citizens.
The virus was first identified in June when a man from Saudi Arabia died after a serious respiratory infection. Information about the discovery of the new virus emerged when a gravely ill man from Qatar was treated in London for the same virus.
Fadela Chaib, a WHO spokeswoman, said that the potential of the human-to-human spread of the virus is being investigated in a household where two men tested positive for the virus. One of the men died and two other members of the household had similar symptoms, the Canadian Press reports.
"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," Chaib said, according to the Canadian Press. "Investigations are on-going to try and answer this question, however if H2H (human-to-human spread) has occurred, it does not appear to be sustained."