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France reports second case of SARS-like virus

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The novel coronavirus, dubbed nCoV-EMC, is similar to the one that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which broke out in Hong Kong about a decade ago.

France has reported its second case of infection with a deadly new SARS-like virus as investigation to identify other potential cases continues.

The patient contracted the virus after sharing a hospital ward with the first patient infected by the new Coronavirus, the French Health Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

“This person, who had a prolonged and close contact with the first patient, is currently being hospitalized and isolated at the infectiology department of the regional university hospital of Lille” in northern France, the ministry said.

The first victim, also being treated at the same hospital, was said to be in a “very serious but stable” condition. Her doctor and a nurse have also been hospitalized for tests.

The Virus, known as nCoV-EMC, is in the family of Coronaviruses pathogens that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, which was responsible for the death of nearly 800 people in the Far East in 2002-03. The new virus is known to have killed at least 18 people, mostly in Saudi Arabia.

“Thankfully it is not comparable to SARS…It has been circulating for a little less than a year, and we’re at 34 reported cases, whereas with SARS it only took a few months to get to 8,000 cases,” Professor Benoit Guery, a specialist in infectious diseases at the hospital said.

The first cases of the virus were reported last year in Dubai, where the first French patient spent a holiday last month.

Other victims have died in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Germany, and the UK from the lethal disease. Nearly a dozen people have died from the virus in Saudi Arabia alone.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization reported two new confirmed cases in Saudi Arabia.


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