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Emirati man succumbs to Coronavirus

World Health Organisation confirms 15th case of deadly virus

Death toll of SARS-like virus rises to 11 worldwide, but health authorities in the UAE say there's no reason to panic.

March 28, 2013 3:16 by

The “novel Coronavirus”, also frequently dubbed by the World Health Organisation as the ‘SARS-like’ virus, has recently claimed the life of a 73-year-old Emirati man in Germany. This brings the total number of worldwide fatalities to 11 in the time frame of six months since it was discovered.

According to the United Nations’ agency, the Emirati man was flown to Munich for cancer treatment where the disease was then discovered. Seventeen cases have been announced since the WHO issued an alert in September last year, most of them with links to the Middle East.

Scientists say the new virus is from the same viral family that causes the common cold and also triggered the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that swept the world from Asia in late 2003, leaving 775 dead.

Symptoms of nCoV – which doctors say spreads rapidly around the body within 48 hours of infection – include severe breathing difficulties, fever, coughing and pneumonia. It can also attack the kidneys, according to health experts.

The WHO has already issued a pressing statement earlier this week, urging regional governments to keep an eye out for all severe respiratory infections, particularly if they’re followed by unusual development patterns. All suspected cases should be reported to the organisation.

Dr Mansour Al Zarouni, a Dubai-based consultant molecular microbiologist, told The National that the real trick is to find out the source; for the time being, many of the links seem to point to the Middle East region, but no concrete evidence has yet been found. The report adds that health authorities in the UAE say there ‘are no suspected cases of the virus here’.

“The number one priority is for the Government to establish centres to handle this so that we do not panic or create chaos – the problem is that, today, when you hear clinicians or GPs talking about a virus like this, any patient going to casualty with a fever will think they have the virus, when that is not the case. People should remain calm,” Al Zarouni stressed.

With additional reporting from Reuters

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