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Saudi Arabia reports 4 new cases of dangerous virus

By Laura Smith-Spark and Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN
May 16, 2013 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
Saudi health ministry officials visits patients in the eastern province of al-Ahsaa on May 13, 2013.
Saudi health ministry officials visits patients in the eastern province of al-Ahsaa on May 13, 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Saudi Arabia reports four new cases of a novel coronavirus, or nCoV
  • Three of the patients are still being treated, and the fourth was discharged from a hospital
  • More than half the confirmed cases of nCoV so far have resulted in the patient's death

(CNN) -- Health officials reported four more cases of a dangerous new virus in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

Three of the patients diagnosed as having the novel coronavirus, or nCoV, are still being treated, a statement on the Saudi Health Ministry website said. The fourth has been discharged from a hospital.

Experts: New SARS-like virus could show up in U.S.

All four cases were in Saudi Arabia's Eastern province, the statement said.

CORRECTION
An earlier headline on CNN.com incorrectly identified the virus that was transmitted to health care workers. It is the novel coronavirus, or nCoV, and not SARS.

NCoV was recently found for the first time in humans, and scattered cases have occurred across parts of the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia.

It has proved deadly in more than half of the confirmed cases so far, the World Health Organization said.

Read more: New SARS-like virus poses medical mystery

As of Sunday, the WHO had been informed of 34 laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with nCoV worldwide since last September, including 18 deaths, it said.

Coronaviruses, which are common around the world, often cause colds.

The novel coronavirus acts like a cold in attacking the respiratory system, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said. But symptoms are severe and can lead to pneumonia and even kidney failure.

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