ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Local infectious disease specialists are keeping a close eye on a deadly virus that is popping up on the other side of the world.

A mysterious SARS-like illness called a coronavirus, first identified last year in the Middle East, has now killed six of the twelve people who have been diagnosed with it worldwide.

Dr. Nirav Patel, an infectious diseases specialist at Saint Louis University Hospital, says little is known at this point.

“There’s not any significant person-to-person spread – I think there’s only been two cases of person-to-person spread – compared to what they had with SARS,” he said. “But there are some concerns. It’s very early in the outbreak so they’re not sure how it’s going to play out. It may be nothing but they’re not taking any chances.”

Patel says those most at risk appear to be people who have visited the Arabian Peninsula, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan.

“There’s some concern expressed here but at this point, I think we’re just very vigilant,” he added.


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