UN health agency confirms 10th case of Novel Coronavirus infection

Doctors look at an X-ray. Photo: WHO

12 February 2013 – The United Nations health agency today confirmed the latest case of Novel Coronavirus, bringing to 10 the total number of cases detected globally of this rare illness.

The latest case is a resident from the United Kingdom who developed symptoms at the end of last month. He has been hospitalized and is currently receiving intensive care. Investigations revealed that the man had recently travelled to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said this is “a sporadic case” that does not alter its risk assessment. However, it added that the new case “does indicate that the virus is persistent.”

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which cause illness in humans and animals. In humans, these illnesses range from the common cold to infection with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

“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 patterns,” the agency said in an update.

“Testing for the new coronavirus of patients with unexplained pneumonias, or patients with severe, progressive or complicated illness not responding to treatment, should be considered especially in persons residing in or returning from the Arabian peninsula and neighbouring countries.”

Of the 10 cases confirmed so far, two have been reported in Qatar, five in Saudi Arabia and two in Jordan. All patients were severely ill, and five have died.

WHO did not advise special screening at points of entry nor did it recommend that any travel or trade restrictions are applied. The agency added that it will continue to work with its partners to monitor the situation closely and investigate any reports of SARI cases in health care workers.

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