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 8:23 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
updated 5:20 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Our whole solar system appears to be inside a searing gas bubble, scientists say.
updated 8:02 PM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
One journalist murdered, another still being held by ISIS -- a ransom negotiator talks to CNN about the delicate business of trying to get a hostage home alive.
updated 10:02 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
The accidental killing of a gun instructor raises an "absurd question," writes Mel Robbins.
updated 8:55 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
ISIS has made surprise gains in Iraq and Syria in recent months, but may begin to suffer setbacks on the battlefield.
updated 2:44 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
The fear of Russian invasion is receding but peace may still be tricky to find.
updated 8:28 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Was a police officer justified in shooting and killing Michael Brown?
updated 12:54 PM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Don't like the country you live in? Meet the people who created their own "micronations."
updated 5:57 PM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
The signs exist that indicate U.S. airstrikes into Syria are on the way.
updated 5:46 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
We asked you what you would like to know about Ebola. Experts answer some of your most common questions and concerns.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT