10:26 25 September 2012
A UK man is being treated in London after being confirmed to have contracted a disease comparable to SARS, which killed hundreds of people worldwide in 2003. The virus is also thought to from the same family as the common cold as it is a respiratory illness.
This is the second case of the SARS-like virus as the Brit was flown in from Qatar by air ambulance according to the BBC. One other person is thought to have died in Saudi Arabia from contracting the virus.
The disease is a coronavirus, which like SARS, can be spread through body fluids including sneezing and coughing according to reports.
However, a spokesman for the World Health Organisation, Gregory Hartl, told AFP that it was unclear whether the two cases are linked together. He said: “We haven't heard of any more new cases. We don't have an appreciation of how widespread the virus is.”
Professor John Watson, from the UK's Health Protection Agency, is quoted by the Mail Online saying: “In the light of the severity of the illness that has been identified in the two confirmed cases, immediate steps have been taken to ensure that people who have been in contact with the UK case have not been infected, and there is no evidence to suggest that they have.
“Further information about these cases is being developed for healthcare workers in the UK, as well as advice to help maintain increased vigilance for this virus.”
Reports state that in the last few months there have been diseases in the Middle East which are linked to the respiratory system, and it is understood there are no other confirmed cases in the UK.
Following the pandemic in 2003, where SARS affected people from around the world, the viral disease was contained.
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