First French victim of new Sars-like virus, 65, dies

PARIS (AFP) - A 65-year-old man, France's first victim of a Sars-like virus which he is thought to have contracted in Dubai, has died, the Directorate General for Health announced on Tuesday.

"The first patient is dead," an official said, referring to the man who was hospitalised on April 23.

Another man, who shared a hospital room with him was later found to have the nCoV-EMC virus, which is a cousin of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) that sparked a health scare around the world in 2003.

The other man, who is in his 50s, has been in hospital in the northern city of Lille since May 9.

The new virus has killed 19 people. Like Sars, it appears to cause an infection deep in the lungs, with patients suffering from a temperature, cough and breathing difficulty, but it differs from Sars in that it also causes rapid kidney failure.