Man dies from new Sars-like coronavirus in central London hospital

The patient, believed to be 49, was being treated for acute respiratory syndrome and kidney failure

A man infected with a Sars-like respiratory illness has died in a central London hospital, officials said today.

The patient, believed to be 49, was being treated for acute respiratory syndrome and kidney failure at St Thomas' Hospital.

He had been flown to the hospital from Qatar in September last year.

His death brings the number of people to have died from the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-nCV), which emerged last year, to 41.

The patient, who was suffering from acute respiratory syndrome and renal failure, was admitted to an intensive care unit in Doha, Qatar, on September 7 last year.

The man, who has not been named by officials, was transferred to the UK by air ambulance on September 11. Before he became ill he had travelled to Saudi Arabia, officials said.

Despite doctors' efforts to keep him alive, including connecting him to an artificial lung, he died on Friday last week.

A hospital spokeswoman said: "Guy's and St Thomas' can confirm that the patient with severe respiratory illness due to novel coronavirus (MERS-nCV) sadly died on Friday 28 June, after his condition deteriorated despite every effort and full supportive treatment."

In May, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus - or MERS-CoV - is a "threat to the entire world".

Experts raised concerns that the disease is "emerging faster than our understanding".

Latest figures from the WHO show that since September last year there have been 77 laboratory confirmed cases across nine countries which have resulted in 40 deaths.

Three people have died in the UK as a result of the infection.

British health officials have been advised to be vigilant for severe unexplained respiratory illness in anyone who has recently travelled in the Middle East, as well as any unexplained clusters of such illness.

Coronaviruses cause most common colds but can also cause Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome). In 2003, hundreds of people died after a Sars outbreak in Asia.

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