This website is part of the ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) network

Epidemiological update: novel coronavirus

30 Nov 2012
Epidemiological update: novel coronavirus

On 30 November WHO updated the number of confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus which has been temporarily named hCoV-EMC. Between April 2012 and 30 November 2012, nine confirmed cases of infection with the novel coronavirus (of whom five died) have been reported to WHO, according to its case definitions. Severe acute respiratory disease was the common presentation of all cases.

Five of the confirmed cases reside in Saudi Arabia (including three fatalities) two in Qatar and two in Jordan. Three of the confirmed cases from Saudi Arabia are from the same family household and there is also a fourth probable case. The second cluster with two confirmed cases (both fatal) has been retrospectively identified among eleven persons who became ill with acute respiratory disease in Jordan already in April 2012.

Two of the cases were diagnosed after being transferred to Europe for further medical care.

The reservoir and route of transmission of this virus has not been identified but all cases were reported from the Arabian Peninsula.
The detection of two clusters could indicate limited person-to-person transmission or exposure to a common source. However, only careful investigation can help to distinguish between those two.

On 26 November 2012, ECDC updated the Rapid Risk Assessment on severe respiratory disease associated with the novel coronavirus. The updated information from WHO at present does not change the conclusions of this assessment.

ECDC conducted a survey on the laboratory capacity testing in EU/EEA member states in coordination with WHO Regional Office for Europe and the results are expected to be available next week.

On 28 November, WHO updated the Interim surveillance recommendations for human infection with novel coronavirus.

Healthcare professionals should be aware of the possibility of seeing patients matching the WHO case definition. Any probable or confirmed case being diagnosed in the EU/EEA area should be reported to the national authorities and then through the Early Warning Response System (EWRS) also to the Event Information Site of the WHO International Health Regulations.

ECDC will continue to closely follow developments.

Read more on ECDC website:

Rapid Risk Assessment: Severe respiratory disease associated with a novel coronavirus, 24 September 2012
Epidemiological update on third confirmed case of novel coronavirus, 6 November 2012

External websites:

RKI: Press Release on a case of Novel Coronavirus diagnosed in Germany
WHO: Novel Coronavirus; Novel coronavirus infection - update
UK: Genetic sequence information for scientists about the novel coronavirus 2012
Recent Eurosurveillance article:
The United Kingdom public health response to an imported laboratory confirmed case of a novel coronavirus in September 2012

© European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) 2005 - 2015