Novel (New) Coronavirus in the Arabian Peninsula
Updated: May 09, 2013
What Is the Current Situation?As of May 2013, a total of 31 people in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, the United Kingdom (UK), the United Arab Emirates, and France were confirmed to have respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus. Eighteen of these 31 people died.
In the UK, an infected man likely spread the virus to two family members. He had recently traveled to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and got sick before returning to the UK. This cluster of cases provides the first evidence of person-to-person transmission. The UK’s Public Health England is continuing to investigate this. In Saudi Arabia, a cluster of cases is linked to one health care facility. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health is investigating the situation. Also, other clusters of cases in Saudi Arabia and Jordan are being investigated. For more information, see CDC’s novel coronavirus update.
CDC does not recommend that anyone change their travel plans because of these cases of the novel coronavirus. CDC recommends that US travelers to countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula* monitor their health and see a doctor right away if they develop fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath. They should tell the doctor about their recent travel.
What Is a Coronavirus?Coronaviruses are a cause of the common cold. A coronavirus also was the cause of the severe respiratory illness called SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). SARS caused a global epidemic in 2003, but there have not been any known cases of SARS since 2004. This novel coronavirus is not the same coronavirus that caused SARS.
What Is Known About Novel Coronavirus?The novel coronavirus is different from any other coronavirus that has been previously found in people. In the UK, the virus likely spread from an infected person to two family members. Symptoms of novel coronavirus infection have included fever, cough, and shortness of breath. CDC is working with WHO and other partners to understand the public health risks from this virus.
How Can Travelers Protect Themselves?Taking these everyday actions can help prevent the spread of germs and protect against colds, flu, and other illnesses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Be sure you are up-to-date with all of your shots, and if possible, see your healthcare provider at least 4–6 weeks before travel to get any additional shots. Visit CDC’s Travelers' Health website for more information on healthy travel.
- If you are sick
- Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid contact with other people to keep from infecting them.
When Should Someone See a Health Care Provider?You should see a healthcare provider if you develop a fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, within 10 days after traveling from countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula*. You should tell the healthcare provider about your recent travel.
- Consider other more common causes of respiratory illness, such as influenza.
- Evaluate patients using the CDC’s case definitions and guidance
- Immediately report patients with unexplained respiratory illness and who meet CDC’s criteria for “patient under investigation” to CDC through the state or local health department.
- Consider evaluating patients for novel coronavirus infection who:
- develop severe acute lower respiratory illness of known etiology within 10 days after traveling from the Arabian Peninsula,* but who do not respond to appropriate therapy
- develop severe acute lower respiratory illness who are close contacts of a symptomatic traveler who developed fever and acute respiratory illness within 10 days of traveling from the Arabian Peninsula.*
- See additional recommendations and guidance on CDC’s novel coronavirus website.
- Contact your state or local health department if you have any questions.