By Stephanie Nebehay - 3 Hours ago
The novel coronavirus emerged in Saudi Arabia in April 2012. Jordan,
Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates have reported laboratory-confirmed
cases, as well as Tunisia and four European countries (Britain, France,
Germany and Italy) among travelers returning from the Middle East.
Eight of the latest infections in Saudi Arabia were reported to be
in people not displaying any symptoms of the disease, which can cause
coughing, fever and pneumonia, the WHO said. Half of them were female
health workers, and the rest children under 15 who had contact with
The current pattern of disease could be consistent either with
ongoing transmission of the virus in an animal population with "sporadic
spillover" into humans resulting in small clusters of people becoming
infected, or "unrecognized sustained spread of the virus among humans
with occasional severe cases".
WHO experts said last month that countries at risk from MERS should
put in place plans for handling mass gatherings, but the agency has
stopped short of recommending restrictions on travel such as checks at
airports and other entry points.