Novel Coronavirus (NCoV) Update

There are fresh reports of an additional four laboratory-confirmed cases with infection of the novel coronavirus (NCoV) in Saudi Arabia. This news follows reports that the new highly fatal coronavirus recently discovered in the Middle East has infected a second person in France. While the infection in the second person has been confirmed by laboratory testing, it is clear that this patient acquired the infection while sharing a room with another patient who had returned from Dubai while being infected with this virus.

Coronaviruses

As of today, May 14th, there have been 38 confirmed cases of this novel virus, including 20 deaths. The confirmed cases have occurred in the following countries:

  • Saudi Arabia: 28 cases
  • Jordan: 2 cases
  • UK: 4 cases altogether, 1 who travelled to Qatar and 1 who travelled to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and subsequently infected 2 family members in the UK
  • Germany: 2 cases, 1 who travelled to Qatar and 1 to the United Arab Emirates
  • France: 2 cases, 1 who travelled to the United Arab Emirates and 1 who was infected in a health care facility in France

Some of the infections were acquired in health care settings where stringent infection control procedures were not employed initially. Many of the patients have considerable co-existing medical conditions. While investigations into the source of this virus are still under way, the risk to travellers to the countries that have reported cases is extremely low. It appears that, in order to become infected with this virus, close personal contact, meaning being in the same small, enclosed space with an infected person for a prolonged period of time, is required for transmission of this virus.