WHO confirms 4 more cases of Middle East virus

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By Reuters

Three people in have become infected with the Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus while one has died, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on .
The Geneva-based UN health agency also confirmed the first MERS case in Oman.
In a disease update, the agency said the four new cases bring the number people struck worldwide by the MERS virus to 149, which 63 have died.
Health authorities and scientists are trying to figure out what kind animal “reservoir’’ may be fuelling the MERS .
The virus, which is from the same family as the one which caused a deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome () in 2002, is thought to have originated in bats.
One published in August found strong evidence that it is widespread among dromedary camels in the .
MERS, which was unknown in humans until earlier this year, has also since then been reported in people in , France, , Italy and Britain.
The UN health agency said the patient in Oman is a 68-year-old man from Al Dahkliya region who became ill on Oct. 26.
“Investigations are currently ongoing to determine what exposures might be responsible for his infection,’’ it said.
The three patients in , one woman and two men, all had underlying medical conditions but all reported having had no contact with animals before falling ill.
One of the Saudi patients, however, was reported to have been in contact with another person infected with MERS.
The agency MERS patients to date have most commonly had respiratory disease as their primary illness.
Diarrhoea is commonly reported among the patients and severe complications include kidney failure and acute breathing difficulties.