Deadly SARS-Like Virus Spreads to Another Country As WHO warns virus is 'threat to the entire world' By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff Posted Jun 2, 2013 4:29 PM CDT 27 comments Comments An electron microscope image of a coronavirus, part of a family of viruses that cause ailments including the common cold and SARS, which was first identified last year in the Middle East. (AP Photo/Health Protection Agency, File) (Newser) – MERS-CoV, the potentially deadly virus that spread from the Middle East to France last month, is now creeping further, with three cases reported in Italy this weekend. The patients, a 42-year-old woman, 45-year-old man, and 2-year-old girl, are said to be in stable condition. The man recently traveled to Jordan, and is reported to be a close contact of the two female patients, CNN reports. Of the 52 people known to be infected with the virus since September 2012, 30 have died. The virus is "a threat to the entire world," WHO General Director Margaret Chan told the World Health Assembly this week, reports CNN. "We understand too little about this virus when viewed against the magnitude of its potential threat," said Chan. "We do not know where the virus hides in nature. We do not know how people are getting infected. Until we answer these questions, we are empty-handed when it comes to prevention. These are alarm bells. And we must respond."