05/21/2015 03:41 EDT | Updated 05/21/2016 01:12 EDT

South Korea confirms 3 cases of new virus called MERS

SEOUL, South Korea - South Korea says it has confirmed three cases of a new respiratory virus that has mostly been centred in Saudi Arabia.South Korean health officials say that a 76-year-old was diagnosed Thursday with contracting Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS.The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the patient shared the same hospital room with a man who was confirmed as South Korea's first confirmed case of the virus.Agency officials say the first confirmed patient had visited Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab emirates. That man's wife has also been diagnosed with contracting the disease.MERS was discovered in 2012. It belongs to the family of coronaviruses that includes the common cold and SARS, and can cause fever, breathing problems, pneumonia and kidney failure.