New SARS-Like Virus Detected

(September 24, 2012)--British health authorities have alerted the United Nations about a new respiratory virus in a severely ill patient from Qatar who was sickened by a coronavirus, which causes most common colds and also causes SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome.

In 2003, SARS killed hundreds of people, mostly in Asia, in a short-lived outbreak.

Britain's Health Protection Agency said the 49-year-old patient had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia.

The U.N. health agency says virus samples from the patient were almost identical to those of a 60-year-old Saudi national who died earlier this year.

The World Health Organization said it is trying to determine the public health implications of the two cases but isn't currently recommending travel restrictions.

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