(Newsroom America) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) says it is determining the public health implications of two confirmed cases of a virus from the same family which causes SARS, with one of them fatal.
On 22 September 2012, the United Kingdom informed WHO of a case of acute respiratory syndrome with renal failure who had travelled between Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The case is a previously healthy, 49 year old male Qatari national that presented with symptoms on 3 September 2012 with travel history to Saudi Arabia prior to onset of illness.
On 7 September he was admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) in Doha, Qatar. On 11 September, he was transferred to the UK by air ambulance from Qatar. The Health Protection Agency of the UK (HPA) conducted laboratory testing and has confirmed the presence of a novel coronavirus.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which includes viruses that cause the common cold and SARS.
The HPA has compared the sequencing of the virus isolate from the 49 year old Qatari national with that of a virus sequenced previously by the Erasmus University Medical Centre, Netherlands. An examination of lung tissue of a fatal case earlier this year in a 60 year-old Saudi national confirmed he had a similar virus, but the two men are not thought to have come into contact.
"Given that this is a novel coronavirus, WHO is currently in the process of obtaining further information to determine the public health implications of these two confirmed cases," the WHO said in a statement.
WHO said it did not recommend any travel restrictions as a result of the findings.
A Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS outbreak in 2002 in Hong Kong almost became a pandemic, with 8,422 cases and 916 deaths worldwide, according to WHO. The virus was found to have been spread quickly via air travel to 37 countries.