Novel strain of coronavirus can pass from person to person: WHO

18 people infected with the virus died

By Kundan Pandey
Published: Monday 13 May 2013

After one more case of novel coronavirus (nCoV) attack being reported from France, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that it is likely that the deadly virus is passed from person to person. The novel CoV can cause a range of illnesses—from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Cases of nCoV infection have been detected in Germany, the UK, France and Saudi Arabia. Till now, the transmission has remained limited to small clusters and so far there is no evidence that the virus has the capacity to sustain generalised transmission in communities.

A total of 33 cases of nCoV infection have been reported till now. Of these, 18 died, a WHO statement issued on Sunday revealed. Among three cases recently reported from Saudi Arabia, two patients died on May 3. An international team of experts and a WHO team visited the country separately to investigate the situation. The patient confirmed positive with nCoV in France recently also has a history of travelling to Dubai.

Cause for concern

The greatest global concern, at present, is the potential of this novel virus to spread. The virus has already caused severe diseases in multiple countries although in small numbers. It has persisted in the Gulf countries since 2012, WHO states.

“Based on the current situation and available information, WHO encourages all member states to continue their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections and to carefully review any unusual patterns. The newest case re-emphasises the need for vigilance in recent travellers returning from areas affected by the virus and the need to use lower respiratory tract specimens for diagnosis when they can be obtained,” WHO states.

This novel strain of coronavirus has not been identified in humans, WHO states. There is very limited information on transmission, severity and clinical impact with only a small number of cases reported till now.


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