16 May 2013
Information is reviewed on a regular basis and updated as required.
- The public health risk posed by HCoV-EMC/2012 to Canada is considered low at this time. There have been a limited number of cases reported to date, and while there is evidence of limited capacity for human-to-human transmission, zoonotic transmission is still presumed to be the source of infection.
- Updated risk assessments will be conducted as new evidence becomes available.
Cases of Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) – subsequently identified and named Human Coronavirus Erasmus Medical Centre (HCoV-EMC/2012) have been reported in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and France since the Fall of 2012.
As of 14 May 2013, 34 laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with novel coronavirus (nCoV) have been reported to WHO: two from Jordan, two from Qatar, 25 from Saudi Arabia, two from the United Kingdom (UK), one from the United Arab Emirates and two from France. Most patients are male (82%; 27 of 33 cases with sex reported) and range in age from 24 to 94 years (median 56 years). Most patients presented with severe acute respiratory disease requiring hospitalization and eventually required mechanical ventilation or other advanced respiratory support. Eighteen patients have died (case fatality rate 53%). Animal exposures were of concern in earliest cases, but the majority of recent cases do not have that history. For the latest updates on the total number of cases and deaths please visit the Global Alert and Response website.
Since 14 April 2013, 15 new cases of infection have been confirmed and reported in Saudi Arabia, seven of these have died. All patients were reported to have at least one comorbid medical condition and most had more than one. Most of the cases were patients at a single health care facility. Two were family members of two patients from that facility; no health care workers have been affected. Preliminary investigations indicate that a small number of these cases had contact with animals in the time leading up to their illness.
On May 8, 2013, The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in France reported one confirmed case with infection of nCoV. The patient was hospitalized and preliminary investigations revealed that the patient had a history of travel to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A secondary case was reported on May 12, 2013 in a patient who shared a hospital room with the first laboratory-confirmed case. Among 120 persons identified as contacts of the first laboratory-confirmed case in France, laboratory tests were conducted on five suspected cases, of which four tested negative, one (mentioned above) tested positive. No healthcare workers have been affected to date.
Several cases have occurred in clusters, including in a health care setting in Jordan in April 2012, in the UK among family members of an infected patient who had recently arrived from Saudi Arabia, the cluster in Saudi Arabia and now the cluster in France. Nosocomial transmission has occurred once and possibly two other occasions (investigations ongoing); and the UK and France clusters confirmed the potential of the virus to transmit between humans with close contact. In neither instance did transmission appear to go beyond the immediate outbreak into the community, and the likely current scenario is multiple introductions into humans with local spread rather than persistent low human transmission.
No vaccine is currently available for novel coronavirus.
The National Institutes of Health has found that a combination of two antiviral drugs, ribavirin and interferon-alpha 2b, can inhibit replication of the virus in cell culturesFootnote 1.
Toronto SARS expert to go to Saudi Arabia to help with coronavirus
Published Wednesday, May 8, 2013 1:37PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 8, 2013 5:02PM EDT
Authorities in Saudi Arabia have invited outside experts to help it deal with a large outbreak of the new coronavirus in the eastern Saudi city of al Hofuf, and a Canadian infectious diseases specialist is among them.
Toronto SARS expert Dr. Allison McGeer arrived in the Middle Eastern country on Wednesday, travelling at the request of the kingdom’s government, a source revealed.
The outbreak, which involves at least 13 cases, has ratcheted up worry about the coronavirus, the World Health Organization acknowledged in an update on the virus, which is from the same family as the SARS coronavirus.
“The reappearance of this virus and the pattern of transmission currently being observed in Saudi Arabia increase the level of concern regarding this novel pathogen,” the statement said.
“The questions of the exposures that result in human infection, the mode of transmission, the source of the virus and the extent of infection in the community urgently need to be answered and are being actively pursued by the Ministry of Health of Saudi Arabia.”
In addition to McGeer, two officials of the World Health Organization were in or travelling to the country to meet with senior officials of the ministry of health in the capital, Riyadh.
“It’s likely they will also visit al Hofuf,” WHO spokesperson Gregory Hartl said. He would not reveal the names of the WHO personnel.
The news came on the same day as France reported it had confirmed a case in one of its citizens, a 65-year-old man who got sick in late April after travelling to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. His infection was confirmed May 7.
It was reported that the man was in the Middle Eastern country on a package tour, a fact that suggests his case may help disease investigators in their efforts to track down the source of the virus. That key fact has to date evaded detection.
Piecing together possible exposures with this coronavirus has been tough. Of the 31 confirmed cases, 18 have died. Of the others, many remain in hospital in critical condition, often on breathing machines. So questioning cases about what they did in the days before they fell ill can be difficult or impossible.
- First proof of patient-to-nurse infection of coronavirus in Saudi (familysurvivalprotocol.com)
- Epidemic Hazard – Saudi Arabia, Eastern Province, Al-hasa : Two more people have died from novel coronavirus, a new strain of the virus similar to the one that caused SARS (familysurvivalprotocol.com)
- Saudi Arabia has 13 cases of SARS-related coronavirus, says WHO (thestar.com)
- Saudi Arabia Reports 4 New Cases Of Coronavirus (medicaldaily.com)
- Human-to-human transmission of SARS-like virus in Saudi Arabia (updatednews.ca)
- New coronavirus tested at Canada’s national lab (updatednews.ca)
- Three new cases of SARS-like virus in Saudi Arabia : novel coronavirus or hCoV-EMC (familysurvivalprotocol.com)
- Epidemic Hazard – Saudi Arabia, Eastern Province, Al-hasa : UPDATE (familysurvivalprotocol.com)
- New coronavirus tested at Canada’s national lab (cbc.ca)
- nCoV: A new naming battle (crofsblogs.typepad.com)