The Ministry of Health in Italy, through the European
Union’s Early Warning Response System has notified WHO of an additional
two laboratory-confirmed cases with Middle East respiratory syndrome
coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the country.
Both the patients are close contacts of the recent
laboratory-confirmed case with recent travel from Jordan. The first
patient is a two-year-old girl and the second patient is a 42-year-old
woman. They are in stable condition.
Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a
total of 53 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV,
including 30 deaths.
WHO has received reports of laboratory-confirmed cases originating
in the following countries in the Middle East to date: Jordan, Qatar,
Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). France, Germany,
Italy,Tunisia and the United Kingdom also reported laboratory-confirmed
cases; they were either transferred there for care of the disease or
returned from the Middle East and subsequently became ill. In France,
Italy, Tunisia and the United Kingdom, there has been limited local
transmission among patients who had not been to the Middle East but had
been in close contact with the laboratory-confirmed or probable cases.
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 maintain vigilance. Recent
travellers returning from the Middle East who develop SARI should be
tested for MERS-CoV as advised in the current surveillance
recommendations. Specimens from patients’ lower respiratory tracts
should be obtained for diagnosis where possible. Clinicians are reminded
that MERS-CoV infection should be considered even with atypical signs
and symptoms, such as diarrhoea, in patients who are immunocompromised.
Health care facilities are reminded of the importance of systematic
implementation of infection prevention and control (IPC). Health care
facilities that provide care for patients suspected or confirmed with
MERS-CoV infection should take appropriate measures to decrease the risk
of transmission of the virus to other patients, health care workers and
All Member States are reminded to promptly assess and notify WHO of
any new case of infection with MERS-CoV, along with information about
potential exposures that may have resulted in infection and a
description of the clinical course. Investigation into the source of
exposure should promptly be initiated to identify the mode of exposure,
so that further transmission of the virus can be prevented.
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.