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Health officials brace for illness potential at Hajj

  • Blog Post by: Colleen Stoxen
  • September 27, 2012 - 6:39 PM

A new virus has health officials on alert: Earlier this year, a Saudi Arabian patient died from a new coronavirus, the family of viruses that includes both the common cold and the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak of 2003.

Now, health officials think a 49-year-old Qatari man who had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia has the same virus, and five people, including a family of four, have been isolated in a Danish hospital with similar symptoms.

The World Health Organization is urging health care workers around the world to report new cases of patients with acute respiratory infections who have traveled to Saudi Arabia or Qatar, bracing for the annual Hajj pilgrimage in a month, which draws over two million people from around the world to Saudi Arabia. Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty in breathing.

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