Skip to main content

Health care workers sickened by new virus

By Ashley Hayes, CNN
updated 6:44 AM EDT, Thu May 16, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The 2 cases are the first transmission from patients to health care workers
  • One person is in critical condition and the other is stable
  • So far, 40 cases of the new virus have been reported; 20 people have died

(CNN) -- Two health care workers in Saudi Arabia were sickened while treating patients with a dangerous new virus, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

The health care workers were exposed to patients with the novel coronavirus, or nCoV, the WHO said in a statement Wednesday. One is a 45-year-old man who is currently in critical condition after becoming ill May 2, and the second is a 43-year-old woman who became ill on May 8 and is in stable condition. The woman has a co-existing health condition, the organization said.

"Although health care associated transmission has been observed before with nCoV (in Jordan in April 2012), this is the first time health care workers have been diagnosed with nCoV infection after exposure to patients," according to the WHO.

Experts: New SARS-like virus could show up in US

Coronavirus reported in France
New SARS-like virus detected
New SARS-like virus a medical mystery

"Health care facilities that provide care for patients with suspected nCoV infection should take appropriate measures to decrease the risk of transmission of the virus to other patients and health care workers."

NCoV was recently found for the first time in humans, and cases have occurred across parts of the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia.

As of Wednesday, the organization said it had been informed of 40 laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with nCoV worldwide since last September. Twenty people in six countries -- France, Germany, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom -- have died.

Coronaviruses, which are common around the world, often cause colds. The novel coronavirus is also in the same family as SARS.

NCoV acts like a cold and attacks the respiratory system, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said. But symptoms are severe, and can lead to pneumonia and kidney failure.

New SARS-like virus poses medical mystery

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:25 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Action needs to be taken immediately before affected states potentially collapse, says campaigner Bob Geldof.
updated 9:02 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
With so many new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
updated 12:29 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
updated 6:33 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
updated 8:18 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Serbia and Albania try to play but the major game is called off after a drone flying a political flag enters the stadium.
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
George Clooney's new wife, is now Amal Clooney, raising the issue of married names.
updated 1:57 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
The mysterious unmanned X-37B space plane returns to Earth after more than two years in space. But the U.S. Air force isn't saying much.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT