Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Revised interim case definition for reporting to WHO – novel coronavirus

Interim case definition as of 19 February 2013


Based on additional information received since the original recommendations were published, WHO has updated its case definition for novel coronavirus. WHO will continue to review and revise guidance related to novel coronavirus as more information becomes available.
Recommendations for surveillance are also being revised on the basis of additional information and will be posted as soon as possible.

Case definitions for reporting

Confirmed Case

A person with laboratory confirmation of infection with the novel coronavirus.

Probable Case

  • A person with an acute respiratory infection* with clinical, radiological, or histopathological evidence of pulmonary parenchymal disease (e.g. pneumonia or Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, (ARDS)); AND
  • no possibility of laboratory confirmation for novel coronavirus either because the patient or samples are not available for testing; AND
  • close contact** with a laboratory-confirmed case.


WHO requests that confirmed and probable cases be reported within 24 hours of being classified as such, through the regional Contact Point for International Health Regulations at the appropriate WHO Regional Office.

* This may include but is not limited to cases with a history of fever or measured fever.
** Close contact includes:

  • anyone who provided care for the patient, including a health care worker or family member, or who had other similarly close physical contact;
  • anyone who stayed at the same place (e.g. lived with, visited) as a probable or confirmed case while the case was symptomatic.

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