15 May 2013 - The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia has informed WHO of an additional two laboratory-confirmed cases with infection of the novel coronavirus (nCoV).
The two patients are health care workers who were exposed to
patients with confirmed nCoV. The first patient is a 45-year-old man who
became ill on 2 May 2013 and is currently in a critical condition. The
second patient is a 43-year-old woman with a coexisting health
condition, who became ill on 8 May 2013 and is in a stable condition.
Although health care associated transmission has been observed
before with nCoV (in Jordan in April 2012), this is the first time
health care workers have been diagnosed with nCoV infection after
exposure to patients. Health care facilities that provide care for
patients with suspected nCoV infection should take appropriate measures
to decrease the risk of transmission of the virus to other patients and
health care workers. Health care facilities are reminded of the
importance of systematic implementation of infection prevention and
Since the beginning of May 2013 to date, a total of 21
patients, including nine deaths, have been reported from the outbreak
primarily linked to a health care facility in the Eastern part of Saudi
Arabia. The government is conducting ongoing investigation into the
From September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a global
total of 40 laboratory confirmed cases of human infection with nCoV,
including 20 deaths from 6 countries (France, Germany, Jordan, Qatar,
Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom).
Based on the current situation and available information, WHO
encourages all Member States to continue their surveillance for severe
acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to carefully review any unusual
Health care providers are advised to be vigilant among recent
travelers returning from areas affected by the virus who develop severe
SARI. Specimens from patients’ lower respiratory tracts should be
obtained for diagnosis where possible. Clinicians are reminded that nCoV
infection should be considered even with atypical signs and symptoms in
patients who are significantly immune compromised.
All Member States are reminded to promptly assess and notify
WHO of any new case of infection with nCoV, along with information about
potential exposures that may have resulted in infection and a
description of the clinical course.
WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with
regard to this event nor does it currently recommend the application of
any travel or trade restrictions.
WHO continues to closely monitor the situation.