Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which are known to cause illness in humans and animals. As of 28 September 2012, scientists confirmed two cases of a never-seen-before strain of the virus, a 60-year-old Saudi Arabian man who died in June 2012, and a Qatari man, 49, with travel history to Saudi Arabia. Their symptoms included acute, serious respiratory illness presented with fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. The novel coronavirus is genetically quite distinct from SARS. There has been no evidence to date that the novel coronavirus has been transmitted from person to person.
Hong Kong traveller tests negative for Sars
A Hong Kong man who fell ill following a trip to Saudi Arabia is not infected by a new respiratory virus related to Sars, the Centre for Health Protection said on Wednesday afternoon.
A centre spokesman said a nasal specimen and throat swab taken from the patient both tested negative for the new coronavirus associated with Sars.
The 59-year-old man, who has underlying illnesses, came down with fever, coughing and shortness of breath on Tuesday.
He was admitted to the isolation ward at Princess Margaret Hospital on Tuesday and is reported in stable condition.
The patient, who lives in Hong Kong, travelled to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on October 9 and then to Medina and Mecca. He returned to Hong Kong last Thursday.
He was not exposed to wild animals during his stay in the Gulf nation, and none of his travelling companions or home contacts show any symptoms, the centre said.
Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry this week confirmed a new case of the respiratory virus in the kingdom, raising the total number to three in recent weeks.