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France confirms 1st case of new SARS-related virus

PARIS — A 65-year-old Frenchman is hospitalized after contracting France’s first case of a deadly new respiratory virus related to SARS, and French health authorities said Wednesday they are trying to find anyone who might have been in contact with him to prevent it from spreading.

It is unclear how or where the man was infected with the novel coronavirus, which has killed 18 people and raised public health concerns since being identified last year in the Middle East. It can cause acute pneumonia and kidney failure.

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The patient fell ill after returning from a nine-day vacation in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates as part of a package tour, the Health Ministry said. Jean-Yves Grall, the French government health director, said the patient is in ‘‘worrying condition’’ under isolation and medical surveillance and is receiving respiratory assistance and blood transfusions.

Since September 2012, the World Health Organization has been informed of 30 confirmed cases of the virus, and 18 of the patients have died. Cases have emerged in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE, Qatar, Britain, and Germany.

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