Newly discovered virus takes more lives, spreads
May 30, 2013 -- Updated 1112 GMT (1912 HKT)
- Of 49 known infections, 27 have ended in death
- Symptoms are cold-like but are severe and can lead to pneumonia and kidney failure
- The WHO calls the MERS-CoV virus "a threat to the entire world"
(CNN) -- A new SARS-like virus recently found in humans continues to spread -- with the worldwide total now at 49, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.
Of the 49 known infections with the MERS-CoV virus, 27 have resulted in death, the organization said.
The latest deaths were reported in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi health ministry said Wednesday that three people died from their infections in the country's eastern region.
Health workers infected with coronavirus
How is dangerous new virus spreading?
WHO tracks new virus to Middle East
The virus is "a threat to the entire world," the WHO's general director said Monday.
5 things to know about the coronavirus
It "is not a problem that any single affected country can keep to itself or manage all by itself," Margaret Chan said Monday in her closing remarks at the 66th World Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.
Although many of the cases have occurred on the Arabian Peninsula, people have died of the infection elsewhere.
However, "all of the European cases have had a direct or indirect connection to the Middle East," the WHO said earlier this month. But "in France and the United Kingdom, there has been limited local transmission among close contacts who had not been to the Middle East but had been in contact with a traveler recently returned from the Middle East."
On Tuesday, a patient died in France after having contracted the virus during a trip to the Middle East, the WHO reported.
Coronaviruses cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, as well as a variety of animal diseases.
However, the new virus is not SARS.
The WHO recently gave it a more specific name: Middle East respiratory symptom coronavirus, or MERS-CoV.
It acts like a cold virus and attacks the respiratory system, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said. But symptoms, which include fever and a cough, are severe and can lead to pneumonia and kidney failure.
Health officials do not yet know much about how the virus spreads, which makes it hard for scientists to prevent infections, Chan said.
The WHO is calling for the world to pull together its resources to study and tackle the virus.
New virus is a 'threat to the entire world'
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 1246 GMT (2046 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.