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Outbreak of new coronavirus - same family as SARS - has WHO on alert

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The World Health Organization is keeping a close eye on a disease outbreak in Saudi Arabia caused by a virus in the same family as the one that caused SARS.

There have been two confirmed infections with the new coronavirus and tests results are pending on a third suspected case, according to media reports from the Middle East. Two of those three people have died.

While word of a coronavirus outbreak immediately brings SARS to mind, there is too little information at this point to say whether this is anything more than a blip on the viral radar.

Still, with pilgrims beginning to gather in Saudi Arabia for next month's Hajj, the public health community is on alert.

"As with any new virus, this is of concern to us and we're watching it very closely," WHO spokesperson Gregory Hartl said Sunday.
 
 

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