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Italy announces first case of SARS-like coronavirus

ROME (Reuters) - Italy reported its first case of the SARS-like coronavirus on Friday, a 45-year-old man who had been travelling in Jordan, the health ministry said.

The patient was in good condition and was being monitored in isolation, the ministry said in a statement. He was admitted to a hospital in Tuscany with a high fever, a cough and breathing difficulties.

A resident of Italy with foreign nationality, the man recently spent 40 days in Jordan where one of his sons was suffering from an unspecified flu.

Saudi Arabia has been the most affected by the virus, with 39 cases and 25 deaths so far, according to data from the World Health Organization.

The virus, which can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia, has spread from the Gulf to France, Britain and Germany. The WHO has called it the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

It is from the same viral family that triggered the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that swept the world in late 2003 and killed 775 people.

(Reporting by Naomi O'Leary; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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