World Health Organization issues global alert over SARS-like illness
London, United Kingdom (4E) – The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday issued a global health alert against a new respiratory virus with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) like symptoms after a Saudi man died and Qatar man reported to be clinging to life at a London hospital.
The Qatari national, 49, who was suffering from kidney failure and acute respiratory infection, was admitted to an intensive care unit on September 7 in Doha. When his condition did not recover, the authorities shifted him to Britain through air ambulance on September 11.
The WHO, in its report, said that a man from Saudi Arabia died of similar illness earlier this year. There are suspicions that the Qatari man, who visited Riyadh on September 3 before falling ill, might have brought the disease from Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, the authorities in Saudi Arabia are trying to find out other similar cases of the illness.
The WHO said that the new virus was from coronavirus family, confirming it was not SARS, which erupted in China nine years ago and spread across the world, killing 800 people.
“This is a new virus,” WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told the media. “We haven’t heard of any more new cases. We don’t have an appreciation of how widespread the virus is. This is one reason why we’re trying to get more information. We don’t know how it’s transmitted,” Hartl said.