Deadly virus newly found in humans strikes in France

Paris, May 9 (IANS) Novel coronavirus (NCoV), a newly discovered and potentially deadly virus, related to one that causes the common cold, has struck another victim, this time in France, CNN reported Thursday.

A man hospitalised in April has been infected with the novel coronavirus, the French health ministry said.

The NCoV virus was recently found for the first time in humans. Scattered cases have occurred across parts of the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia.

It has proved deadly in more than half of the confirmed cases so far, according to the World Health Organization. Of 31 people with confirmed infections, at least 18 have died.

Infectious disease specialists believe the virus is very difficult to catch.

The newly infected man is the first confirmed infection in France, the ministry said. He recently returned from travel to the United Arab Emirates.

NCoV, like some common colds, is also caused by a coronavirus. And like a cold, it attacks the respiratory system, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

But symptoms are severe and can lead to pneumonia and even kidney failure.

NCoV has also been compared to related coronavirus, the one that causes SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which appears to have been contained in 2004, according to the CDC.

Of some 8,000 verified cases of SARS, fewer than 800 people — less than one-tenth of those infected — died.

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