Skip to main content

Second case of challenging virus reported in France

By Steve Almasy, CNN
updated 3:05 PM EDT, Mon May 13, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Second case of novel coronavirus reported in French patient
  • Person shared hospital room with first person diagnosed with the infection
  • Out of 31 confirmed cases of infection, the NCoV virus has killed at least 18 people
  • The virus is related to one that causes the common cold, also a coronavirus

(CNN) -- A person who shared a hospital room with a patient who has a newly discovered and sometimes deadly virus also has tested positive for the infection, the French Health Ministry said Sunday.

The second patient diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, known as NCoV, was in the same room as a man with the infection at Valenciennes hospital from April 27 to 29.

The newly diagnosed person is under isolation at the University Hospital of Lille, the ministry said.

NCoV virus was recently found for the first time in humans and scattered reported 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, according to the World Health Organization. Of 34 people with confirmed infections, at least 18 have died.

The World Health Organization said in a written statement Sunday that doctors still have a lot of questions and concerns about the virus.

"Of most concern, however, is the fact that the different clusters seen in multiple countries increasingly support the hypothesis that when there is close contact this novel coronavirus can transmit from person to person."

Some common colds are also caused by a coronavirus. And like a cold, NCoV infection attacks 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.

"Once it gets you, it's a very serious infection," said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

NCoV has also been compared to a related coronavirus, the one that causes SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which appears to have been contained in 2004, according to the CDC.

But the WHO said: "This new virus is not the SARS virus. They are distinct from each other. However, the fact that they are related has added to the world's concern."

The organization said most of the people who have been reported to have an infection are older men with other medical conditions. Precise data are not available on the total number of people who have been infected because it is difficult to ascertain how many get a mild form of NCoV.

The WHO said it is an "important and major challenge" to solve the riddle of what causes the infection, where it originates and how widespread it is.

Infectious disease specialists believe the virus is very difficult to catch.

The two infected men are the first confirmed cases in France. The first patient had recently returned from the United Arab Emirates, the French Health Ministry said.

Identifying the source of that man's ailment took time, the ministry said. France's Pasteur Institute confirmed the case Wednesday. The Health Ministry identified 124 people who had contact with the man.

CNN's Ben Brumfield, Marilia Brocchetto and Saad Abedine contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:54 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
updated 7:24 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
updated 1:44 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
updated 8:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
updated 12:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
updated 3:22 AM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
updated 4:00 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
updated 6:34 AM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
updated 12:46 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
updated 9:51 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
updated 11:21 AM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
updated 12:01 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
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.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT