A 39-year-old Saudi Arabian man died on Mar 2 of a novel coronavirus (NCoV) infection, marking the world's 15th case and 9th death from the mysterious virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced today.
The WHO gave few details other than to say that the man got sick on Feb 24 and was hospitalized Feb 28. A preliminary investigation found that he had had no contact with other case-patients, but other possible exposures are under investigation, the agency said. The statement did not say where the man lived or give other information about the nature of his illness.
Eight of the world's 15 NCoV cases, including six fatal ones, have occurred in Saudi Arabia. Two fatal cases have been reported in Jordan, two cases involved Qataris, and three, with one death, were in a family cluster in the United Kingdom.
All 15 patients had direct or indirect links with the Arabian Peninsula through residence or travel. The UK cluster marked the first clear evidence of person-to-person spread of the virus and showed that mild cases can occur.
Today's announcement comes less than a week after the Mar 6 news of Saudi Arabia's most recent previous case, involving a 69-year-old man who died Feb 19. Before that, another fatal Saudi Arabian case was disclosed Feb 21, involving a patient who died on Feb 10.
Very little information was provided on either of those cases, though the WHO said the 69-year-old had had no contact with other NCoV patients and had not traveled recently.