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
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1142 GMT (1942 HKT)
It was supposed to be a class trip to a resort island. Instead, the ferry capsized, turning the afternoon into a deadly nightmare.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1731 GMT (0131 HKT)
It's hard not to be nervous, standing outside the Ebola isolation wards.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1258 GMT (2058 HKT)
Ukraine says it's forces have regained control of an airfield from Russian separatists. Nick Paton Walsh reports.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 2116 GMT (0516 HKT)
Officials are launching their next option: an underwater vehicle to scan the ocean floor.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1753 GMT (0153 HKT)
How are police preparing for this year's 26.2-mile marathon, which takes place Monday?
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1702 GMT (0102 HKT)
Katrina Karkazis
Romance is hard, for anyone. For people with intersex traits, love poses unique challenges.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
Suisse's Belinda Bencic returns the ball to France's Alize Cornet during the second match of the Fed Cup first round tennis tie France vs Switzerland on February 8, 2014 at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
It's no easy matter becoming a world class tennis player. It's even harder when everyone (really -- everyone) is calling you the "new Martina Hingis".
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 2126 GMT (0526 HKT)
The "kill switch," a system for remotely disabling smartphones and wiping their data, will become standard in 2015.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1632 GMT (0032 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1851 GMT (0251 HKT)
Sky gazers caught a glimpse of the "blood moon" crossing the Earth's shadow Tuesday in all its splendor.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1509 GMT (2309 HKT)
A staff stands next to the propellers of Sun-powered plane Solar Impulse 2 HB-SIB seen in silhouette during its first exit for test on April 14, 2014 in Payerne, a year ahead of their planned round-the-world flight. Solar Impulse 2 is the successor of the original plane of the same name, which last year completed a trip across the United States without using a drop of fuel. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
This solar-powered aircraft will attempt to circle the globe next year.
ADVERTISEMENT