Written by By Max Cohen, CNN
A new coronavirus has emerged in Germany, raising fears that German sport could be disrupted.
The recently identified virus, called MERS-CoV, is a form of coronavirus, but is not related to the novel coronavirus that is currently causing widespread death and disruption around the world. In the latest phase of the outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it had “likely” been responsible for the death of a 33-year-old patient who died in Germany.
The virus is thought to have been brought into Germany by a 23-year-old soldier who had travelled from the Middle East, according to a statement from the state government of Baden-Wuerttemberg.
He had traveled with a friend back to Munich in late September for a barbeque. On arriving at Munich airport, the first sign of the illness came from a “clinically very mild” fever, according to Dr. Alexander Reben, the head of communicable diseases at St. Gallen Hospital in Switzerland and lead researcher for the coronavirus response team.
“We immediately suspected that this was a new coronavirus from the Middle East,” he said.
“The patient had recently returned from Saudi Arabia, and there have been several cases reported from that country.”
Klaus Stohr, director of the German Institute for Health Security and Food Safety said in a statement: “In the latest case, the infection came from an additional infectious source. This confirms that the recent more severe cases detected in affected countries must be the product of contact with the SARS-like virus and not from a related form of coronavirus.”
What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are the family of respiratory pathogens that include SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS. They are one of the most common types of coronaviruses infecting humans, according to the WHO.
“It is unclear how the isolation of this newly identified strain of coronavirus from contaminated specimens might represent a unique or special situation,” the WHO said in a statement.
Meanwhile, a new case of pneumonia from a previously unknown coronavirus strain has surfaced in Saudi Arabia, according to the WHO.
The Saudi health ministry said the person had been admitted to a hospital in Riyadh on October 28 and treated, but died the next day. The ministry described the person as a healthcare worker, according to the WHO.
Norovirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis worldwide, infecting hundreds of millions of people a year, according to the WHO. It is also the most common cause of gastrointestinal illness in children, the nonprofit agency said.
How does it spread?
The virus spreads from person to person though close contact, such as shaking hands or touching infected surfaces. But SARS outbreak is thought to have spread through contaminated air travel.