Important interim information for Medical Officers of Health, Clinicians and Laboratories.
SummaryThe International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) has recently confirmed the name for the novel coronavirus, as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
As of 23 May 2013, a novel coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has been confirmed in 43 patients – including 21 deaths – and has been associated with a severe acute pneumonia. The probable places of infection were Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan, as well as UK, Tunisia and France (in the last three countries from an imported case).
In patients with severe acute pneumonia with a recent travel history from the Arabian Peninsula or neighbouring countries, or patients with respiratory illness after close contact with a known confirmed or probable case, the following is recommended:
- Place the patient in a single room with negative pressure air-handling, and implement standard and transmission-based precautions (contact and airborne), including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Investigations and management of severe acute pneumonia should be performed as for community acquired pneumonia. Appropriate specimens should also be collected for novel coronavirus PCR testing.
- The local Medical Officer of Health should be notified promptly of any suspected (and probable or confirmed) cases.