New SARS-like virus detected in Middle East

10:16 AM, Sep 24, 2012   |    comments
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British health authorities have alerted the U.N. to a new respiratory virus in a severely ill patient from Qatar.

The man was sickened by a corona-virus, which causes most common colds but 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 in a statement late Sunday that 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 says it is trying to determine the public health implications of the two cases but isn't currently recommending travel restrictions.