New Virus Scare - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

New Virus Scare

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The three latest victims of the new SARS-like respiratory virus died in a hospital in Saudi Arabia's capital.

Health ministers say they ranged in age from 24 to 60 and had been hospitalized for a month with chronic diseases, including kidney failure.

Thirty people worldwide have died from the infection called MERS, for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

Dozens more have become sick.

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta say -- so far -- there are no reports of MERS infecting anyone in the U.S.

But experts from the World Health Organization say the virus is a threat to the entire globe.

"We understand too little, too little about this virus," says Dr. Margaret Chan of WHO.

World health authorities say first cases of the new virus were found in the Middle East early last year.

It belongs to the same family as SARS and has killed about half the people who became ill.

"It causes flu like symptoms - so cough, severe fever..." says World Health Organization spokesman Gregory Hartl.

Experts say it seems likely the new virus can be passed between people -- but  only after close and continued contact. They believe it may have originated in bats or camels.

The majority of cases have come from Middle Eastern Countries -- but the virus has spread to Britain, Germany and France too.

A man died at a hospital in Northern France earlier this week after traveling to Dubai.

The outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, known as SARS, swept across the world in 2003, killing nearly 800 people.

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