WHO Warning on New Strain of the Coronavirus

WHO Warning on New Strain of the Coronavirus

The World Health Organization is giving warning that the new strain of coronavirus could be passed between people in close contact. The warning came on Sunday after authorities confirmed a case in Valenciennes, northern France where a 65-year old man who got ill when he came back from Dubai has infected a 50-year old patient who shared the room with him. Both men were treated in isolation wards although the second patient’s condition has deteriorated and requires intensive care treatment, according to Health Minister Marisol Touraine.

On Sunday, Reuters reported that according to the Saudi deputy minister of health, another two people died bringing the human deaths to nine in the most-recent outbreak.  The Saudi health ministry declared that since last summer, out of 24 diagnosed cases, 15 people had already died.

In February, the family of a patient who picked up the virus when he was traveling to Pakistan and the Middle East that died at a hospital in Birmingham, England got infected.

New novel coronavirus may be passed in close contact

WHO affirmed that the novel coronavirus (NCoV) are passed in close contact after the French health ministry confirmed a possible case of human to human transmission.

The WHO said on Sunday that the different cluster seen in multiple countries supports the hypothesis that this coronavius can transmit between humans when there is close contact.

Cases to date

According to World Health Organization (WHO) update, there were 33 confirmed cases  across the Middle East and Europe since September 2012, with 18 deaths. Saudi Arabia has reported 15 deaths out of 24 cases since May 2013. Two confirmed cases were reported in Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and have spread to France, Germany and the UK. According to health officials today, two more people in Saudi Arabia are reported to have died from the virus. Most of the patients are male from 24 -94 years old.

Need for Awareness

Coronavirus also known as nCoV is the cousin of (SARS) Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome that killed 800 people in East Asia in 2002-2003.

General Keiji Fukuda, WHO Assistant Director told reporters in Saudi Arabia, there was no evidence so far that the virus can raise the specter of a pandemic. However, the different clusters seen in multiple countries support the hypothesis that this can transmit from person to person if there is a close contact.

Benoit Guery, head of the Lille hospital’s infectious diseases unit, said it’s not comparable to SARS and the transmission between people is not an indication that the virus is contagious. It’s been in circulation for a year, but only 34 cases were reported whereas it took merely a few months with SARS to get 8,000 cases.

No specific treatment or vaccine is still available, and all cases of the outbreak  were not directly linked to one hospital.

Written by: Janet Grace Ortigas

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