04/07/2013 07:17 BST | Updated 04/07/2013 07:19 BST

Man With Sars-Like Illness Dies In St Thomas' Hospital, London

The man was being treated in an intensive care unit at St Thomas' Hospital

A man infected with a Sars-like respiratory illness has died in Britain, officials said.

The Qatari man was being treated in an intensive care unit at St Thomas' Hospital in central London.

Hospital officials said that 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' can confirm that the patient with severe respiratory illness due to novel coronavirus (MERS-nCV) 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 that Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus - or MERS-CoV - is a ''threat to the entire world''.

Experts raised concerns that the disease is ''emerging faster than our understanding''.

Latest figures from the WHO show that since September last year there have been 77 laboratory confirmed cases across nine countries which have resulted in 40 deaths.

Three people have died in the UK as a result of the infection.

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.