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Italy reports respiratory virus from the Middle East
June 3, 2013, 3:41 am

Illnesses range from the common cold to infection with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) [Getty Images]

Illnesses range from the common cold to infection with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) [Getty Images]

The Italian Ministry of Health has notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of an additional two laboratory-confirmed cases with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), the WHO said Sunday.

According to the WHO website, “Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses; different members of this family cause illness in humans and animals. In humans, these illnesses range from the common cold to infection with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (SARS CoV)”.

WHO said in its latest disease outbreak update that both the patients had close contacts with the first confirmed case in the country, one is a two-year-old girl and the second is a 42-year-old woman. They are in stable condition.

Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of 53 confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 30 deaths, it said.

WHO said Saturday that a 45-year-old Italian resident with recent travel from Jordan has been confirmed with infection of the MER-CoV.

The man returned to Italy on May 25 with symptoms of cough and fatigue and was hospitalized on May 28 as his condition deteriorated. He is currently in stable condition, according to the WHO.

The WHO recently reported that local transmission from non-human exposures appears to have occurred in several countries in the Middle East, including Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“Cases have also been reported by three countries in Europe—France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (UK)—and by Tunisia, in North Africa. All the European and North African cases have had a direct or indirect connection to the Middle East,” WHO said.

With input from Xinhua

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