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France Reports Its First Case of SARS-Linked Coronavirus, Saudi Arabia Reports 13 New Cases

Update Date: May 08, 2013 09:58 AM EDT
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France reported its first case of the new coronavirus that is puzzling health officials. At the same time, Saudi Arabia is reporting that there have been 13 new cases of the new virus; seven of them have already died.

According to AFP, the new case is a 65-year-old French man who has recently returned from a trip to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Though there have been cases in the United Kingdom, this is the first reported case of the coronavirus in its neighbor.

The man is currently being treated in Douai, a city that is located in the northern portion of the country. He is currently in intensive care, and is receiving blood transfusions and respiratory aid. It is not clear what his prognosis is.

According to the Associated Press, Marisol Touraine, the country's health minister, said that this was an "isolated case". However, the country is working in order to find anyone with whom the man may have had contact before he was hospitalized, in an effort to prevent any possibility of the virus from spreading. In fact, the government has even put in place a national hotline that people in the country can use to contact the World Health Organization.

According to Reuters, Saudi Arabia recently reported 13 cases. The country's news agency said that all of the people infected were in the Eastern Province, and that they all had pre-existing health conditions. The press outlet also said that there was no cause for concern, and that all of the necessary precautions had been taken.

The new virus was discovered in September 2012. Since then, there have been 30 cases confirmed by laboratory testing and 18 deaths. Most of them have been in Saudi Arabia, which has reported 23 cases alone. Cases have also been reported in Qatar, Jordan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and, most recently, France.

Health officials do not know how the disease is contracted or its source. It is believed that the virus can pass from human to human, though not in a sustained spread. The virus is also believed to be less contagious than its relatives, the flu and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which killed 800 people in an epidemic in 2003.

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