Jordan calls novel coronavirus cases isolated

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Dec 3, 2012 (CIDRAP News) – Following the recent retrospective confirmation of two fatal infections with a novel coronavirus (CoV) in Jordan, the Jordanian health ministry said no more such cases have surfaced in the country since April, according to media reports.

"Since April, the health ministry has not recorded any case of the coronavirus in Jordan," Health Minister Abdullatif Wreikat said in comments reported by the official Petra news agency yesterday, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report.

On Nov 30 the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that tests identified the novel CoV in 2 of 11 people, including 8 healthcare workers, who had severe respiratory infections in a hospital intensive care unit in Zarqa, Jordan, in April. The cases increased the global tally of novel CoV cases to nine, with 5 deaths.

There was no word today on further tests results for any of the people in the Jordanian illness cluster.

Besides the Jordanian cases, five cases, with three deaths, have been reported in Saudi Arabia and two cases in Qatar. Three of the five Saudi cases were part of a family cluster.

In other developments, the Canadian government on Nov 30 urged travelers to take precautions in light of the novel coronavirus. In an updated travel health notice, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said travelers may be subject to quarantine in some countries, including Saudi Arabia, if they show signs of a flu-like illness.

The notice advises people to postpone travel if they have flu-like symptoms. It also recommends good respiratory hygiene and says people who have breathing difficulty after returning from a trip should seek immediate medical attention.

Canada was among the countries affected in 2003 by the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus, another coronavirus that can cause severe pneumonia.

Meanwhile, the WHO today released a revised set of frequently asked questions about the novel CoV. It stresses how little is known about the pathogen, noting that officials don't know how people become infected or whether they can spread the virus to others. But unlike the SARS virus, the new virus does not appear to spread easily from person to person, the agency commented.

In the cases so far, the WHO said, "common symptoms have been acute, serious respiratory illness with fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. Based on current clinical experience, the infection generally presents as pneumonia." Five cases involved acute renal failure, according to previous reports.

The WHO also updated its surveillance guidance for the novel CoV today. The latest version includes only some alteration in wording for clarity, with no substantive changes.

In other reporting, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) supplied a recap of the novel CoV situation in its weekly communicable disease update today.

See also:

Dec 2 AFP story

Nov 30 PHAC travel health notice

Dec 3 WHO FAQ

Updated (Dec 3) WHO surveillance recommendations

Dec 3 ECDC weekly communicable disease report

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