The Saudi Arabian Health Ministry confirmed on Monday that a second person in the kingdom has been diagnosed with a mystery respiratory virus related to SARS, bringing the number of those recently infected by the new virus in the Gulf region to three.
In a statement released Monday, the Ministry said that the unidentified patient was admitted to the hospital with "pneumonia caused by the new virus known as novel Coronavirus," according to the Associated Press.
However, the Ministry said that the male patient has since recovered from his pneumonia. The statement indicated that the patient had no traveled outside Riyadh, but did not say when, where or how the person contracted the deadly virus.
The patient fell ill from a coronavirus germ, belonging to a family of viruses that causes the common cold as well as SARS, the severe cute respiratory syndrome that infected thousands and killed around 800 people, mostly in Asia, in a 2003 epidemic.
According to the World health Organization in September, the same illness had killed another patient in Saudi Arabia.
The health agency said that the illness also left a Qatari man seriously ill in a London hospital after he was transferred there from Doha earlier this month, adding that the man had previously been in Saudi Arabia.
The WHO stressed that although the new virus is related to SARS, it is not the same Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome illness that caused the 2003 pandemic. The WHO said that the new virus is different from SARS because it causes rapid kidney failure.
Last month, during the Muslim hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, fears rose over the potential spread of the deadly virus. However, the Saudi Arabian health ministry had repeatedly reassured pilgrims that no epidemic outbreaks had been registered, according to AFP.