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Betacornavirus Case Raises Pandemic Concerns
“A citizen who visited one of the hospitals in Riyadh complaining of flu-like symptoms raised suspicion. Following appropriate tests and after cross checking the results in an specialized lab abroad, it was confirmed that the man tested positive for the virus," the statement said.
It said the patient was given appropriate treatment and his condition has improved.
The ministry asked the public not to panic, as the infection does not lead to serious complications. "There is no cause for worry. The discovered cases were few and isolated," it added.
The above translation from the Saudi Gazette describes the 4th confirmed novel betacoronavirus case. This case was also reported in a ProMED RFI, but none of the reports contained any detail. Today WHO issued an update, indicating they had received reports on four additional confirmed cases, raising the total to six (four in Saudi Arabia and 2 in Qatar), including an additional death.
The WHO description indicates the fatal case was epidemiologically linked to the above case, as well as two symptomatic family members. One of the additional family members died increasing the familial death toll to 2, although initial testing of the surviving case was negative for the novel betacornavirus.
Human transmission of this novel virus is not unexpected (earlier WHO comments notwithstandig) and the similarities with the SARS-CoV outbreak in 2002/2003 are striking.
More detail on this cluster and testing would be useful.