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Officials say they are monitoring 3 suspected cases of SARS-related virus in France

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This undated image released by the British Health Protection Agency shows an electron microscope image of a coronavirus, part of a family of viruses that cause ailments including the common cold and SARS. (AP Photo/Health Protection Agency)

French health officials are investigating three suspected cases of a deadly new respiratory virus related to SARS, while a man confirmed to have the virus remains hospitalized.

Beatrice Degrugillers, a spokeswoman for the regional health agency in France's Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, says a nurse at the hospital where the first patient was hospitalized in late April has herself been under watch at the hospital in Douai since Thursday night.

A doctor and a former hospital roommate who had each been in contact with the first patient also remain hospitalized. Test results are expected later Friday.

On Wednesday authorities announced the 65-year-old Frenchman was France's first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus, which has killed 18 people and raised new public health concerns since being identified last year in the Middle East.

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