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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 59-60

An assurance letter to the pilgrims ( novel coronavirus 2012)

Department of Internal Medicine, Kasr El Aini, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt

Date of Submission29-Sep-2012
Date of Acceptance11-Oct-2012
Date of Web Publication16-Jul-2014

Correspondence Address:
Amal F Radwan
Department of Internal Medicine, Kasr El Aini, Cairo University, 38th street 77 Maadi, Cairo
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.7123/01.EJIM.0000422599.24526.40

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How to cite this article:
Radwan AF. An assurance letter to the pilgrims ( novel coronavirus 2012). Egypt J Intern Med 2012;24:59-60

How to cite this URL:
Radwan AF. An assurance letter to the pilgrims ( novel coronavirus 2012). Egypt J Intern Med [serial online] 2012 [cited 2020 Oct 27];24:59-60. Available from: http://www.esim.eg.net/text.asp?2012/24/3/59/128282

The WHO has declared that no trade or travel restrictions have been imposed on Qatar and Saudi Arabia because of the novel coronavirus infection and does not advise special screening at points of entry into these countries 1.

The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia has assured the public that occurrences of infection are rare, the overall health conditions are stable, thanks to God, and that there are no reasons for concern. It encourages those who would like to perform Hajj and Umra from within the Kingdom or from abroad to take necessary precautions and recommends vaccines, paying special attention to personal hygiene and hand cleansing, and wearing masks in crowded places and change them frequently 2.

  What is the story of that novel virus? Top

The Saudi Ministry of Health announced on Saturday, 22 September 2012, that a new form of the coronavirus has been diagnosed in three people, causing the death of two of them; the third is still undergoing treatment. The Ministry explained that, with the rapidly changing weather at this time of the year and with the start of the Hajj season, a new strain of coronavirus has been recovered from three patients 2.

The novel coronavirus was identified in lower respiratory tract specimens of a Qatari national who was receiving treatment for a severe respiratory illness in London. The virus was the same as a novel coronavirus recently identified by Dutch researchers in lung tissue from a national from Saudi Arabia who was ill previously with pneumonia 3.

  Coronaviruses Top
[Figure 1]
Figure 1: Novel coronavirus 4.

Click here to view

Human coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s 5 and are named for the crown-like projections on the surface of the virus 6,7.

Coronaviruses are species in the genera of viruses belonging to the subfamily Coronavirinae of the family Coronaviridae 8. Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses with a positive-sense RNA genome and an anucleocapsid of helical symmetry 6.

There are a variety of coronaviruses, including some causing symptoms of common cold 9,10 and others causing much more serious illnesses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome 11,12.

In September 2012, a new type of coronavirus, referred to as novel coronavirus 2012, was discovered in Qatar and Saudi Arabia 13.

The incubation period is currently considered to be up to 7 days 14; therefore, any respiratory illness occurring during the 7-day period following the last contact with a patient suffering from infection with this virus is considered relevant, and staff should alert their manager/occupational health service as soon as possible.

Symptoms include fever, cough, or other respiratory symptoms.

Preliminary enquiries have revealed no evidence of illness on contact with these two patients, including among healthcare workers.

The head of the respiratory diseases department at the Health Protection Agency has stated that at present there is no specific precautionary measure that the public or returning travelers can take as they are aware of only two cases worldwide and there is no specific evidence of ongoing transmission at present; however, they stated that they will share any further advice with the public as soon as more information becomes available 15.

The WHO has issued a global alert accordingly and an interim case definition to help countries strengthen health protection measures against the new virus 16.

At present, any person who has recently returned from Saudi Arabia or Qatar with a serious respiratory illness should be managed in strict respiratory isolation (ideally a negative pressure room) and all healthcare workers should wear personal protective equipment.

However, there is no evidence so far of person-to-person transmission of the novel coronavirus 1.

To date, the long period between occurrence of the two cases and the lack of secondary cases among contacts suggest that the disease is poorly communicable in humans. Our assessment, based on the limited information currently available, is that the risk of widespread transmission resulting in severe disease is low 14.[16]

  References Top

1.Novel coronavirus infection – update – revised interim case definition, 29 September 2012  Back to cited text no. 1
2. Ministry of Health Portal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 22 September 2012  Back to cited text no. 2
3. Acute respiratory illness associated with a new virus identified in the UK, 23 September 2012  Back to cited text no. 3
4. Novel Coronavirus 2012  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Krzysztof Pyrc BB, van der Hoek L. The Novel Human Coronaviruses NL63 and HKU1. J Virol. 2007;81:3051–3057  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Lai MMC, Holmes KVKnipe DM, Howley PMFields. Coronaviridae: the viruses and their replication. Virology. 20014th ed. Philadelphia Lippincott Williams & Wilkins:1163–1185  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Guy JS, Breslin JJ, Breuhaus B, Vivrette S, Smith LG. Characterization of a coronavirus isolated from a diarrheic foal. J Clin Microbiol. 2000;38:4523–4526  Back to cited text no. 7
8.De Groot RJ, Baker SC, Baric R, Enjuanes L, Gorbalenya AE, Holmes KV, et al.King AMQ, Lefkowitz E, Adams MJ, Carstens EB Family Coronaviridae. Ninth Report of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. 2011 Oxford Elsevier:806–828 ISBN 978–0–12–384684–6  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Tyrrell DAJ, Bynoe ML. Cultivation of novel type of common-cold virus in organ cultures. Br Med J. 1965;5448:1467–1470  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Larson HE, Reed SE, Tyrell DAJ. Isolation of rhinoviruses and coronaviruses from 38 colds in adults. J Med Virol. 1980;5:221–229  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Drosten C, Gunther S, Preiser W, van der Werf S, Brodt HR, Becker S, et al. Identification of a novel coronavirus in patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome. N Engl J Med. 2003;348:1967–1976  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Peiris JS, Lai ST, Poon LL, Guan Y, Yam LY, Lim W, et al. Coronavirus as a possible cause of severe acute respiratory syndrome. Lancet. 2003;361:1319–1325  Back to cited text no. 12
13. Novel coronavirus infection in the United Kingdom, 23 September 2012  Back to cited text no. 13
14.Danielsson N, Leitmeyer K, Kinross P, Zeller H, Danielsson N, Penttinen P, et al. Novel coronavirus associated with severe respiratory disease: case definition and public health measures. Eurosurveillance. 2012;17:9–10  Back to cited text no. 14
15. Acute respiratory illness associated with a new virus identified in the UK, 23 September 2012  Back to cited text no. 15
16. Novel coronavirus infection – update, 29 September 2012  Back to cited text no. 16


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