Skip to main content

Health care workers sickened by new virus

By Ashley Hayes, CNN
May 16, 2013 -- Updated 1044 GMT (1844 HKT)
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
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT)
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1945 GMT (0345 HKT)
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
It's a very big challenge but NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan thinks it can be done.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 0039 GMT (0839 HKT)
CNN's Atika Shubert explains how the most recent ISIS video differs from the other previous hostage execution videos.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1738 GMT (0138 HKT)
A Syrian cleric condemns ISIS and its execution of U.S. hostage Peter Kassig.
November 16, 2014 -- Updated 1720 GMT (0120 HKT)
Volunteer fighters in eastern Ukraine dig down just 800 meters from the front line.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 1729 GMT (0129 HKT)
TV anchor wears the same suit for a year. Female colleague wears new outfit daily. Who gets criticized?
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1204 GMT (2004 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT