- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
- U.N. warns of Muslim ‘cleansing’ in Central African Republic
- Senate blocks change to military sex assault cases
- Drug mix may have cured child born with HIV, doctors say
- De Blasio’s wife irks former mansion chef with ‘servant’ remark
- Russia’s neighbors shiver amid Putin’s Cold War moves in Ukraine
- New SAT: The essay portion is to become optional
- Military group can’t march to honor the fallen at Boston Marathon due to security changes
- Senate passes bills deleting ‘retarded’ from laws
- China announces biggest military hike in 3 years: We are not ‘boy scouts with spears’
German lab: Qatar man suffered from new virus
BERLIN (AP) - A patient from Qatar has been confirmed with a new virus related to SARS, while health officials are investigating whether it may have spread between humans after close contact in Saudi Arabia.
Germany's Robert Koch Institute said Friday that the Qatari patient fell ill in October with severe respiratory problems. He was brought to Germany for treatment in a specialty clinic, recovered after a month and was released this week.
As a precaution, the World Health Organization advised medical authorities around the world to test any patients with unexplained pneumonias for the new coronavirus, from a family of viruses that cause the common cold as well as SARS. Previously, WHO had only advised testing patients who had been to either Qatar or Saudi Arabia _ the two countries with all six reported 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," WHO said.
WHO reported a cluster of four cases in October in a family living in the same household in Saudi Arabia, in which a father and son both fell ill with symptoms including pneumonia, fever and respiratory problems. The father, 70, died after developing renal failure. His son was hospitalized shortly afterwards and died four days later after multi-organ failure. The son was confirmed with the coronavirus while the father's results are pending.
Two other people in the same family got sick but both recovered. One was confirmed with the coronavirus while the other tested negative.
Health officials always keep a close eye on any clusters of unusual viruses within families, since they may suggest the possibility of human-to-human spread. Still, that is usually due to close contact in which family members are looking after sick loved ones and does not suggest the virus can be easily transmitted.
Experts aren't sure how the virus is spreading but suspect it may be jumping directly to humans from animals like bats, camels or goats. In the latest case from Qatar, however, the patient had no known links to animals.
WHO said Saudi officials were currently examining how its last cases got infected. "Investigations are ongoing to look at all sorts of exposure, including the possibility of human-to-human transmission," said spokeswoman Fadela Chaib. So far, there is no evidence the virus can spread easily between people.
The Koch institute says there is no evidence the Qatari patient treated in Germany infected anyone else in the country. "The Robert Koch Institute's assessment of the risk remains that the possibility of becoming infected in Germany is very low," the institute said.
About 8,500 people worldwide were affected by SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, in 2003 and about 900 died.
Medical Writer Maria Cheng contributed to this report from London.
TWT Video Picks
By Tammy Bruce
- Aronofsky's 'Noah' banned in Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- Bill Clinton cashes in on nonprofit hospital
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- Back to the Future: HUVr Tech marketing video goes viral with hoverboard release tease
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- DELAY: A revolution for the Constitution
- Russian lawmaker wants to outlaw U.S. dollar, calls it a Ponzi scheme
- Obama goes from lame to laughable in just one week
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again