Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WHO warns of SARS-like virus before haj

(Reuters) - The World Health Organization on Wednesday urged health workers everywhere to report patients with acute respiratory infection who may have been in Saudi Arabia or Qatar, following the discovery of a new virus from the same family as SARS.

Saudi Arabia said it had taken precautions to prevent disease spreading next month, when it expects over 2 million Muslims to flock to the annual haj pilgrimage, then return home.

WHO put out a global alert on Sunday saying a new virus had infected a 49-year-old Qatari who had recently travelled to Saudi Arabia, where another man with an almost identical virus had died.

The Qatari remained critically ill in hospital in Britain as of Tuesday, but the WHO said on Wednesday no new case of the new virus had been reported.

"We've got things in place should things change, should the behavior of the virus change," spokesman Gregory Hartl said. Read More