Published on February 21, 2013 at 5:35 AM
"A British man infected with a new virus from the same family as SARS has died, health officials said on Tuesday, bringing the worldwide death toll from the previously unknown disease to six," Reuters reports. "The virus, called novel coronavirus or NCoV, was unknown in humans until it emerged in the Middle East last year," the news agency writes, adding, "There have been 12 confirmed cases worldwide -- including in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Britain -- and half the patients have died" (Kelland, 2/19). "The patient, who was being treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, had a chronic health condition and weakened immune system, which made him more vulnerable to the virus and the severe pneumonia-like problems it causes," NPR's "Shots" blog states, adding that the man is believed to have caught the virus from his father who probably contracted the virus on a trip to the Middle East and "is currently being treated for the virus in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Manchester, England" (Doucleff, 2/19). The Associated Press notes a 2003 outbreak of the related SARS virus killed 800 people worldwide (2/19).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.