Lifestyle & Belief

Mystery SARS-like virus claims 7th victim after infected man dies in Saudi Arabia


A picture taken on February 4, 2013 shows a Saudi woman arriving at the Olaya shopping mall, in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.



A patient with a new SARS-like virus admitted to hospital in Saudi Arabia has died, taking the global death toll from the mystery disease to seven.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday that the Saudi health ministry had informed it the patient was hospitalized on Jan. 29 and died Feb. 10, Reuters wrote.

A laboratory test confirmed the person had died from the so-called novel coronavirus, or NCoV, Agence France-Presse reported.

The virus emerged in the Middle East in mid-2012 and is from the family of viruses that includes the one responsible for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which emerged in China in 2002 and killed one in 10 of the 8,000 people it infected worldwide.

It is also related to the virus that causes the common cold.

Meanwhile, Britain's Daily Mail was reporting that the authorities were searching for anyone who sat near the first UK person to be diagnosed with the virus.

The man was traveling back to London from Saudi Arabia in late January and passed the virus on to his son, 39, who died in a Birmingham hospital last Sunday.

The father became infected while traveling in Pakistan and the Middle East, the Mail wrote.

According to AFP, 13 cases of the virus have been reported to the WHO so far, with four of the fatalities occurring in Saudi Arabia, two in Jordan and one in Britain.