2 killed on account of new SARS-like virus

A new Coronavirus similar in nature to severe acute respiratory syndrome has infected six and has resulted in two deaths in the Middle East, media reports said.

The number of reported cases as well as the number of fatalities linked with the respiratory ailment doubled on Friday, as the second person was reported killed and three more infections had been reported by the World Health Organization.

Both fatalities occurred in Saudi Arabia, and reports of the virus had been limited to that country and Qatar and one man had been transported to UK for treatment.

WHO initially issued a global warning about the disease in September, and cautioned that a Qatar man who had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia had become infected with a virus that had previously never been detected in humans, where a second man had died from the same disease.

The new disease shares some of the symptom of SARS, a Coronavirus that surfaced in China in 2002 and killed around 10% of the 8,000 people who contracted it worldwide.

Amongst these symptoms are coughing, breathing difficulty and high fever.

The WHO officials said, they would continue their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections and until more information becomes available, it would be prudent to consider that the virus is likely more widely distributed than just the two countries that have identified cases.

They also suggested that anyone suffering from unexplained pneumonia should be tested for the new virus, even if they have not travelled to either Qatar or Saudi Arabia.

Besides, they also stated, they would continue to work with officials in both the countries to gain a better understanding of the disease, and noted additional epidemiological and scientific studies were needed to learn more about this SARS- like ailment.