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Saudis say virus does not pose threat to pilgrims
Monday - 10/1/2012, 2:18pm EDT
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Saudi Arabia's health minister says a new respiratory virus related to SARS that has infected two people does not pose a threat to the more than 1 million Muslims set to embark on the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the kingdom.
Abdullah al-Rabeeah said Monday the virus has so far been contained.
The germ is a coronavirus, from a family of viruses that cause the common cold as well as SARS, the severe acute respiratory syndrome that killed some 800 people, mostly in Asia, in a 2003 epidemic.
Global health officials suspect two victims from the Middle East may have caught it from animals.
The World Health Organization issued a global alert asking doctors to be on guard for any potential cases of the new virus, which also causes kidney failure.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)