In the News
Novel Coronavirus in Saudi Arabia and Qatar
Released: October 04, 2012
What Is the Current Situation?The World Health Organization (WHO) has been notified by the United Kingdom of a case of acute respiratory syndrome caused by a novel (new) coronavirus. This case occurred in September in a person from Qatar who had traveled to Saudi Arabia. The infection developed in the Middle East and was diagnosed after the patient was brought to the United Kingdom. Another case occurred in June in Saudi Arabia. That patient has since died. Public health authorities around the world are increasing monitoring of respiratory illnesses to find out if there are other cases of this new coronavirus in addition to the two cases reported so far.
At this time CDC, does not recommend that travelers change their travel plans.
What Is a Coronavirus?Coronaviruses are the cause of the common cold. A coronavirus also was the cause of the severe respiratory illness called SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). SARS caused a global epidemic in 2003, but there has not been any known case of SARS since 2004.
What Is Known About This New Coronavirus?Little is known about this new coronavirus. For example, it is not yet known how this virus is spread. What is known is that this virus is different from any other that has been previously found in humans. Symptoms of this new virus appear to be fever, cough, and breathing difficulties.
How Can Travelers Protect Themselves?Although little is known at this time about how this virus is spread, taking these everyday actions can help prevent the spread of germs and protect against colds, flu, and other illness:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- There is no vaccine for this novel coronavirus, but there are shots available to protect you from other illnesses. Be sure you are up to date with all of your shots, and see your healthcare provider at least 4 to 6 weeks if possible before travel to get any additional shots. Visit CDC’s Coronavirus website for more information about this situation and Travelers' Health website for more information on healthy travel.
- This new coronavirus causes a respiratory infection that may be confused with influenza. It is therefore especially important to get a flu vaccine as this will help your doctor look for other causes for your illness should you develop any flu-like symptoms.
- If you are sick
- Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid contact with other people to keep from infecting them.
- Severe Respiratory Illness Associated with a Novel Coronavirus — Saudi Arabia and Qatar, 2012 MMWR October 4, 2012/61 (Early Release); 1-2.
- WHO Novel Coronavirus infection in the United Kingdom
- UK Health Protection Agency Press Release
- Novel coronavirus associated with severe respiratory disease: Case definition and public health measures
- Safe and Healthy Hajj 2012