WHO issues warning over SARS-like virus

SARS

The World Health Organization recently urged countries to be vigilant over the spread of a potentially fatal coronavirus after the confirmation of a new case in Britain with connections to the Middle East.

The novel coronavirus, which is related to the virus that caused an epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003, infected 12 people worldwide. The SARS epidemic killed more than 800 people and sparked a major international health scare, AFP reports.

The novel coronavirus killed three in Saudi Arabia, two in Jordan and the latest victim succumbed to the disease on Tuesday in England, Associated Press reports.

The British victim was a relative of two additional cases of the virus earlier this week. The first member of the family recently travelled to the Middle East and Pakistan, while the other two had no recent travel history.

“Based on the current situation and available information, WHO encourages all member states to continue their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections and to carefully review any unusual patterns,” the WHO said, according to AFP. “Testing for the new coronavirus should be considered in patients with unexplained pneumonias, or in patients with unexplained severe, progressive or complicated respiratory illness not responding to treatment.”

The WHO said that while the most recent case showed indications of person-to-person transmission, no sustained person-to-person transmission was identified, AFP reports.

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