Middle Eastern Virus Concerns Grow

Novel coronavirus a global threat warns WHO director as infections continue

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) While the development of bird flu cases in China has slowed, threats from a new virus, the novel coronavirus (nCoV), have begun to top the list of outbreak concerns.

New infections and deaths from this new virus are being reported as health officials warn that the situation presents a serious global threat.

"Wash your hands regularly and don't share drinks."

According to CNN, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan, MD, called the virus “a threat to the entire world.”

The warning came alongside news of five new cases in Saudi Arabia plus the first death from the virus in France. The French patient fell ill after returning from travel to Dubai, Reuters reported.

The latest counts from the WHO released last week had the global patient count at 44, but this was released before news of additional Saudi patients. Reuters reported that the virus has now caused 23 deaths worldwide.

According to CNN, Dr. Chan urged the need for a greater global understanding of nCoV, saying the virus "is not a problem that any single affected country can keep to itself or manage all by itself.”

Dr. Chan warned, "We do not know where the virus hides in nature. We do not know how people are getting infected. Until we answer these questions, we are empty-handed when it comes to prevention. These are alarm bells. And we must respond.”

The WHO reported that patients have been discovered with nCoV in eight countries: Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Tunisia and the United Kingdom.

According to CNN, symptoms include respiratory symptoms, fever and cough, but gastrointestinal symptoms have also been observed. Some patients have developed pneumonia and kidney failure after contracting the disease.

As previously reported by dailyRx News, nCoV is related to the SARS virus which caused hundreds of deaths in the early 2000s. However, while both nCoV and SARS are from the coronavirus family, the two are separate and distinct diseases.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 29, 2013
Last Updated:
August 8, 2013