Qatari man who was transferred to UK by air ambulance last September had Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus
A man infected with a Sars-like respiratory illness has died in London, officials say.
The Qatari man, who was being treated in an intensive care unit at St Thomas's hospital in central London, had contracted the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus – or Mers-CoV.
Hospital officials said the man, who was 49 when he was admitted, died after his condition deteriorated.
The patient, who was suffering from acute respiratory syndrome and renal failure, was admitted to an intensive care unit in Doha, Qatar, on 7 September last year. The man, who has not been named by officials, was transferred to the UK by air ambulance on 11 September. Before he became ill he had travelled to Saudi Arabia, officials said.
Despite doctors' efforts to keep him alive, including connecting him to an artificial lung, he died on Friday last week.
A hospital spokeswoman said: "Guy's and St Thomas's can confirm that the patient with severe respiratory illness due to novel coronavirus … sadly died on Friday 28 June, after his condition deteriorated despite every effort and full supportive treatment."
In May, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Mers-CoV was a "threat to the entire world" and experts have raised concerns that the disease is "emerging faster than our understanding".
Latest figures from the WHO, published before the latest UK death, show that since September last year there have been 77 laboratory confirmed cases across nine countries, which have resulted in 40 deaths.
British health officials have been advised to be vigilant for severe unexplained respiratory illness in anyone who has recently travelled in the Middle East, as well as any unexplained clusters of such illness.
Coronaviruses cause most common colds but can also cause Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome). In 2003, hundreds of people died after a Sars outbreak in Asia.