Novel coronavirus: update on cases- 10th May 2013


WHO was informed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in France of one confirmed case with infection of the novel coronavirus (NCoV) on May 8th.

The patient who has an underlying medical condition, including immunosuppression became ill on 23 April 2013 and later developed respiratory symptoms. Laboratory confirmation with nCoV was confirmed on 7 May 2013 by Institut Pasteur in France. The laboratory confirmation was obtained from a bronchoalveolar lavage specimen (a medical procedure in which bronchoscope is passed through the mouth or nose into the lungs to obtain fluid for examination) after a nasopharyngeal specimen (secretion from the uppermost part of the throat) tested negative. The patient is currently hospitalised in France. Preliminary investigation reveals that the patient had a history of travel to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Further investigation into the case is ongoing.

In addition, 17 cases of NCoV have been reported by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the past week.  Thirteen of these cases seem to be part of a recently detected  cluster in Al-Ahsa in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia which may be linked to the same healthcare facility and have onset dates over a three-week period (April 14th to May 1st). 

From September 2012 to May 8th, WHO has been informed of a global total of 31 laboratory confirmed cases of human infection with nCoV, including 18 deaths.

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. Testing for the new coronavirus should be considered in patients with unexplained pneumonias, or in patients with unexplained severe, progressive illness or complicated respiratory illness not responding to treatment, particularly in persons travelling from or resident in areas of the world known to be affected. The latest case re-emphasises the need to use lower respiratory tract specimens for diagnosis when they can be obtained.

Any clusters of SARI or SARI in healthcare workers should be thoroughly investigated, regardless of where in the world they occur.

New cases and clusters of  NCoV should be promptly reported to local Departments of Public Health.

WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event nor does it recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied.

WHO continues to monitor the situation closely.

For more information see

See also:
Health Protection Agency UK

World Health Organization

World Health Organization-Europe

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control