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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:36 pm 
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The previously reported cluster in Jordan in April, 2012 now appears to be due to the novel betacornavirus. NAMRU=3 has confirmed the virus in stored samples from two fatal cases.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:37 pm 
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Novel coronavirus infection - update

30 November 2012 -In addition to the fatal case of novel coronavirus in Saudi Arabia reported to WHO on 28 November, two fatal cases in Jordan have been reported to WHO today, bringing the total of laboratory-confirmed cases to nine.

The latest confirmed case from Saudi Arabia occurred in October 2012 and is from the family cluster of the two cases confirmed earlier.

The two cases from Jordan occurred in April 2012. At that time, a number of severe pneumonia cases occurred in the country and the Ministry of Health (MOH) Jordan promptly requested a WHO Collaborating Centre for Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases (NAMRU – 3) team to immediately assist in the laboratory investigation. The NAMRU-3 team went to Jordan and tested samples from this cluster of cases.

On 24 April 2012 the NAMRU-3 team informed the MOH that all samples had tested negative for known coronaviruses and other respiratory viruses. As the novel coronavirus had not yet been discovered, no specific tests for it were available.

In October 2012, after the discovery of the novel coronavirus, stored samples were sent by MOH Jordan to NAMRU-3. In November 2012 NAMRU-3 provided laboratory results that confirmed two cases of infection with the novel coronavirus.

The MOH Jordan has requested WHO assistance in investigating these infections. A mission from WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO) and headquarters arrived in Amman on 28 November 2012 to assist in further epidemiological surveillance and to strengthen the sentinel surveillance systems for severe acute respiratory infections (SARIs).

In summary, to date a total of nine laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with the novel coronavirus have been reported to WHO – five cases (including 3 deaths) from Saudi Arabia, two cases from Qatar and two cases (both fatal) from Jordan.

http://www.who.int/csr/don/2012_11_30/en/index.html

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:07 pm 
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30 November 2012 Last updated at 13:48 ET

Health and science reporter, BBC News

The source of the virus is uncertain

A fifth person has died from a new respiratory illness similar to the Sars virus, according to the World Health Organization.

The WHO said the two latest deaths were in Jordan. The disease had previously been detected only in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, although one patient was transferred to the UK for treatment.

It brings the total number of cases of the infection to nine.

There may also be evidence of human to human spread of the virus.

It causes pneumonia and sometimes kidney failure.

There was a series of severe cases of pneumonia in Jordan earlier in the year. However, the novel coronavirus had not been discovered at the time so did not appear in routine tests.

Two of the deaths in April have now been confirmed as being part of the outbreak.

Sars-like

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses ranging from the common cold to the Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus. They infect a wide range of animals.

In 2002 an outbreak of Sars killed about 800 people after the virus spread to more than 30 countries around the world.

The WHO is still trying to work out where the infection came from. Studies show that the virus is closely related to one found in some species of bats.

How readily the virus spreads will be important for assessing how great a threat it poses.

The WHO said that, unlike Sars, the new coronavirus, "does not appear to transmit easily between people".

However, it warns that two clusters in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, "raise the possibility of limited human-to-human transmission" or they could have been exposed to the same source of the infection.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20554760

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:09 pm 
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WHO confirms 2 more deaths from respiratory virus

Respiratory virus related to SARS has sickened nine include five deaths

The Associated Press

Posted: Nov 30, 2012 1:35 PM ET

Last Updated: Nov 30, 2012 1:55 PM ET


International health officials have confirmed two more fatal cases of a mysterious respiratory virus in the Middle East.

The virus has so far sickened nine people and killed five of them. The virus is related to SARS, which killed some 800 people in a global epidemic in 2003.

The two cases date back to April and are part of a cluster of a dozen people who fell sick in Zarqa, Jordan. Officials are investigating whether the 10 other people sick in Zarqa also were infected and how it might have spread. Other cases of the virus have been spotted in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

WHO doesn't know exactly how the virus spreads but said it couldn't exclude the possibility it was being transmitted from person to person.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/201 ... virus.html

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:23 pm 
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Commentary

http://www.recombinomics.com/News/11301 ... n_H2H.html

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:46 pm 
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2 more cases of new virus in Jordan

2:15PM EST November 30. 2012 - LONDON (AP) — International health officials have confirmed two more fatal cases of a mysterious respiratory virus in the Middle East.

The virus has so far sickened nine people and killed five of them. The new disease is a coronavirus related to SARS, which killed some 800 people in a global epidemic in 2003, and belongs to a family of viruses that most often causes the common cold.

The two cases date back to April and are part of a cluster of a dozen people, mostly health workers, who fell sick in an intensive care unit at a hospital in Zarqa, Jordan. Officials are investigating whether the 10 other people who grew sick in Zarqa also were infected and how the virus might have spread.

"It's too early to say whether human-to-human transmission occurred or not, but we certainly can't rule it out," said WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl.

One of the Jordanian cases was a 40-year-old female. All of the other patients to date have been men. The new virus has so far been identified in patients from Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Scientists haven't found any links between the sporadic cases of the coronavirus so far, first detected in September. "We don't know how the virus gets around and there are more questions than answers right now," Hartl said.

Several of the patients sickened by the new coronavirus have had rapid kidney failure and others have suffered severe pneumonia and respiratory illnesses. The virus is most closely related to a bat virus and scientists are also considering whether bats or animals like camels or goats are a possible source of infection.

Scientists are also considering whether fruit contaminated by animal droppings may have spread the virus.

Still, not all of the cases had contact with animals and WHO said it was possible the virus was spread between humans in the Jordan hospital and in a cluster of cases in Saudi Arabia, where four members of the same family fell ill and two died.

WHO says the virus is probably more widespread than just the Middle East and recommended that countries test any people with unexplained pneumonia.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/worl ... n/1737973/

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:54 pm 
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Helen Branswell, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, Nov. 30, 2012 2:39PM EST

TORONTO -- The World Health Organization has reported two additional cases of infection with the new coronavirus, the earliest on record.

The agency says retrospective testing of stored samples show two people who died in Jordan in April were infected with the virus, which is from the same virus family as SARS.

Prior to this the first known case had been a man from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, who fell ill and died in June.

The new report from the WHO brings to nine the number of confirmed infections with the new virus, of which five cases have been fatal.

When it came to light that a new coronavirus was causing severe human illnesses in the Middle East, questions were raised about an outbreak of severe pneumonia cases that had occurred in Jordan in April.

At the time health officials were not able to diagnose what was causing the illnesses, but stored samples from two of the patients tested positive recently for the new coronavirus.

In a statement issued Friday, the WHO says Jordan's ministry of health has asked the global health agency for assistance in investigating the infections.

A team from WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office and from WHO headquarters arrived in the Jordanian capital, Amman on Wednesday to help with studies aimed at trying to trace the source of infection and strengthen capacity to spot new cases.

A potentially worrisome aspect of the Jordanian outbreak is that it involved health-care workers. Health-care workers can be unwitting sentinels in disease outbreaks, picking up infections from patients that they treat. If health-care workers become infected, that can often -- though not always -- be a sign a pathogen can spread from person to person.

To date there has been no sign of sustained person-to-person spread of the virus, though there was a recent cluster of three and possibly four family members who got sick in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Two of them died.

The Jordanian cases may signal spread from patients to health-care workers happened there. But it's too soon to conclude that, said WHO spokesperson Gregory Hartl, who noted the health-care workers and the patients could have been infected for a common -- and as yet unidentified -- source.

"Even if the cases in Jordan were human-to-human spread -- and we don't know that -- it wasn't sustained," Hartl said in an interview from Geneva. He noted that there has been no sign of spread to health-care workers in Saudia Arabia or Qatar, the two other countries that have had cases, nor in London or Germany, where two of the cases have been treated.

Hartl said with cases popping up over large distances in three different countries, and over months, much work remains to be done to figure out what is going on. "There are a lot of holes still to be filled in," he said.

The WHO has asked countries to be on the lookout for possible cases in people with unexplained severe infections who have recently returned from or lived in countries in the Arabian Peninsula, or surrounding countries.

To date the case count is as follows: Jordan, two, both fatal; Saudi Arabia, five, three fatal and Qatar, two.

A report on the outbreak -- noted in a weekly disease report from the European Centre for Disease Control in May -- said seven nurses and a doctor were among 11 cases identified in the outbreak at a hospital in Zarqa, Jordan.


Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronaviru ... z2DjmyZxVV

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:55 pm 
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Stephanie Nebehay

Reuters

2:56 p.m. EST, November 30, 2012

GENEVA (Reuters) - Two people who died in Jordan in April have been found to have been infected with the new virus from the same family as SARS which sparked a global alert in September, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

The coronavirus, previously unknown in humans, has now been confirmed in a total of nine people in three countries in the Middle East region, including a Saudi who had severe acute respiratory illness last month, the United Nations agency said.

But the two fatal cases in Jordan, confirmed in samples just retested by a WHO collaborating laboratory in Egypt, do not change WHO's assessment that the virus does not appear to spread easily between people, if at all, spokesman Gregory Hartl said.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/health/sns- ... ntinel.com

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:10 pm 
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SARS-Like Virus Found In Jordan, Hunt Is On For Other Cases
by Richard Knox

November 30, 2012 4:39 PM

The World Health Organization says a new Arabian coronavirus has killed two people in Jordan — the third country where the novel microbe has been traced.

That brings lab-confirmed cases to nine, with five fatalities.

The latest cases are actually the oldest known so far. They push the SARS-like virus's timeline three months back from the first reported case involving a 60-year-old man who died in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, last June.

Jordan's cases were found through new testing of blood and tissues samples from patients in a cluster of pneumonias of unknown origin that occurred last April at a hospital in Zarqa, near Jordan's capital of Amman.

Until now known cases have occurred further south in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The newly identified cases are also significant because they're part of an 11-person cluster of pneumonia that involved seven nurses and a doctor.

It's unclear whether either of the two new cases involved health care workers, or whether the new coronavirus has been ruled out yet as the cause of the other pneumonias in that outbreak

But whenever disease-trackers see clusters of infection involving caregivers, that raises their suspicion that a microbe has spread from person to person — most likely from patient to caregiver.

It doesn't have to mean that. Health care workers and patients could have acquired the infection from a shared environmental source.

But if the new virus is able to spread from person to person, even if inefficiently, that raises the possibility it can become more mobile, moving through human populations.

"Even if the cases in Jordan were human-to-human spread — and we don't know that — it wasn't sustained," WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told the Canadian Press.

The possibility of person-to-person spread is also suggested by a cluster of coronavirus pneumonias reported on November 23 involving members of the same household in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Four men in that family fell ill with respiratory symptoms and two tested positive for the new coronavirus. The two others, one of whom died, are considered probable cases.

No one thinks that the new coronavirus is as big a threat as its notorious cousin, the one that precipitated the SARS epidemic in 2003 that quickly spread around the world and killed 916 people.

For one thing, health officials haven't found any cases of the new coronavirus among the millions of pilgrims who attended this fall's annual Hajj in Mecca, near the place where the Saudi man died in June.

On the other hand, nobody knows how big a problem the Arabian coronavirus may be — or even whether it is likely to be restricted to Arabia.

The WHO is urging medical and public health workers around the world to investigate clusters of unexplained pneumonia for a possible link to the new virus. It isn't calling for individual cases to be tested.

The agency "is convinced that whatever the source of the virus is, it is probably not unique to those countries," science journalist Helen Branswell writes in Scientific American.

Genetic testing suggests that the new virus is most closely related to one in bats. But that doesn't necessarily mean all human cases had direct contact with bats. There may be an intermediate carrier, and victims might have eaten food contaminated with dust, urine or feces from an infected animal.

At this point, it appears that researchers will find more human cases of the new virus. Each case, or cluster of
cases, increases the chance that the source and mode of transmission will be found.

That effort will be accelerated by the development of a blood test for the virus, which Branswell reports may come in the next month or so. Right now diagnosis relies on a gene-amplification test, called PCR, which is cumbersome and sometimes hard to interpret. And it can't tell if someone had been exposed to the virus in the past but recovered.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/11 ... ther-cases

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:43 pm 
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Two people in Jordan died from SARS-like coronavirus: WHO

Stephanie Nebehay

Reuters

1:56 p.m. CST, November 30, 2012

GENEVA (Reuters) - Two people who died in Jordan in April have been found to have been infected with the new virus from the same family as SARS which sparked a global alert in September, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

The coronavirus, previously unknown in humans, has now been confirmed in a total of nine people in three countries in the Middle East region, including a Saudi who had severe acute respiratory illness last month, the United Nations agency said.

But the two fatal cases in Jordan, confirmed in samples just retested by a WHO collaborating laboratory in Egypt, do not change WHO's assessment that the virus does not appear to spread easily between people, if at all, spokesman Gregory Hartl said.

"These Jordan cases don't change our risk assessment at the moment. We haven't seen any new pattern. These are old cases," Hartl told Reuters.

In a statement, the Geneva-based WHO said: "Two fatal cases in Jordan have been reported to WHO today, bringing the total of laboratory-confirmed cases to nine."

Initially, the samples had tested negative for known coronaviruses and other respiratory viruses in April.

"As the novel coronavirus had not yet been discovered, no specific tests for it were available," the agency said.

The new virus shares some of the symptoms of SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which emerged in China in 2002, spread easily among people and killed around a tenth of the 8,000 people it infected worldwide.

"Based on current information, it does not appear to transmit easily between people, unlike the SARS virus," WHO said.

The new virus can appear to be pneumonia and acute kidney failure has occurred in five cases, the WHO said.

In all, five cases of the new virus, including three deaths have been confirmed in Saudi Arabia, including three patients in one family, it said. Two cases have been confirmed in Qatar, and both are recovering, while both cases in Jordan were fatal.

The Jordan cases were among a total of 12 cases of severe acute respiratory illness that erupted last April linked to a hospital in Zarqa some 40 kilometers (24 miles) outside Amman, Hartl said. Most were health workers, he added.

"The link is the hospital. It could be some environmental thing or human-to-human transmission," he said.

"The main thing is the fact that even if it were human-to-human transmission, which we don't know, it doesn't seem to spread very well or efficiently," Hartl said.

The two so-called "clusters" of cases, in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, raised the possibility of "limited human-to-human transmission", or exposure to a common source, the WHO said.

"Ongoing investigation may or may not be able to distinguish between these possibilities," it said, noting some viruses are transmitted within families but are not transmissible enough to cause large community outbreaks.

The WHO urged health authorities in its 194 member states to continue surveillance for the new virus and investigate any unusual patterns.

"Testing for the new coronavirus of patients with unexplained pneumonias should be considered, especially in persons residing in or returning from the Arabian peninsula and neighboring countries," it said.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Sophie Hares)

http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/sn ... 1048.story

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