WHO Novel Coronavirus Infection – Update

As a leader in risk management and emergency preparedness services, we would like provide an update from the BC Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organization regarding further detections of the novel coronavirus originally posted by the WHO  in September, 2012. 

What’s New – Novel Coronavirus

Four additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus identified.

  • Three in Saudi Arabia (including one death)
  • One in Qatar

The Qatar case had onset of severe respiratory symptoms in October, recovered and was released from care in November. Onset dates for the recent Saudi Arabia cases are not yet available.

To date, this brings the total number of laboratory confirmed cases to six.

  • Two cases fatal
  • All linked either to Saudi Arabia or Qatar

Of the four most recently confirmed cases, two are from the same family in Saudi Arabia and represent the first epidemiologically-linked cases.

One of these died and the other has recovered. In addition, two other members of the same family presented with similar symptoms of which one also died and one is recovering.

It has yet to be determined whether this family cluster signifies human-to-human transmission or rather shared exposure to a common animal (i.e. bat) source. Investigations are underway.

Novel Coronavirus

What’s Advised

The WHO advises that until more information is available; consider the novel coronavirus virus likely to be more broadly distributed than Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Information on the full clinical presentation is only available for the first two cases reported in September 2012.

In the absence of other details or guidance, clinicians may reasonably consider novel coronavirus testing for patients presenting with signs or symptoms of severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), particularly in the absence of other explanation.

Acute Respiratory Infections

Worldwide Acute Respiratory Infections

Any clusters of SARI or SARI in health care workers should be thoroughly investigated regardless of where they occur.

Where this novel coronavirus is considered, the local health unit and/or Medical Health Officer should be immediately notified and guidance sought.

Patients should be managed in strict respiratory isolation including contact and droplet precautions.

The message from the WHO is not to panic but rather to  ask countries to be more vigilant.

WHO Update – November 23

The most recent WHO update is available at the following link: