Coronavirus discovered in Tunisia, 1 dead, 2 hospitalized

22 May 2013, 08:22
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Coronavirus discovered in Tunisia, 1 dead, 2 hospitalized

The Tunisian Ministry of Health reported on Monday that novel coronavirus of Middle Eastern origin has been discovered in Tunisia for the first time.


One person, 66-year-old man has died from it after his visiting Saudi Arabia earlier.


Just like previous coronavirus patients in France and Great Britain, Tunisian patient had the pre-existing medical condition, diabetes, which made him more susceptible to getting infected. His two adult children have been also infected and hospitalized.


Tunisian authorities reported they were both males while World Health Organization said at least one of them was a woman who visited Saudi Arabia together with her father. The rest of the family members are currently under close medical observation.


Gregory Hartl, a spokesman for WHO in Geneva said, "These Tunisia cases haven't changed our risk assessment, but they do show the virus is still infecting people". He did not comment the discrepancy between different reports.


"We still do not have a good idea of how people are getting infected and that is a major concern," also said the WHO representative.


The discovery marks first case of SARS-like agent in Tunisia and suggests that the virus is steadily finding its way out of Saudi Arabia where more than 30 coronavirus cases have been detected.


Infection cases have been detected in Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the UK, France, and France.


"All of the European cases have had a direct or indirect connection to the Middle East, including two cases with recent travel history from the UAE," the WHO Update says. Twenty-two of the 41 cases reported worldwide are in Saudi Arabia.


Out of the 20 deaths, nine of them have been in the kingdom, WHO says.

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