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CDC Issues Novel Beta2c Coronavirus Health Alert
Recombinomics Commentary 21:30
March 8, 2013

Notice to Health Care Providers: Updated Guidelines for Evaluation of Severe Respiratory Illness Associated with a Novel Coronavirus

Distributed via the CDC Health Alert Network

The above title of the CDC Health Alert is similar to yesterday’s early release MMWR which provides background and new guidelines for reporting suspect cases of beta2c nCoV to the CDC, as well as requests for samples.

The novel coronavirus has striking similarities to the SARS CoV that spread internationally almost exactly 10 years ago.  The international spread was seeded on February 21, 2003, but the effects of that spread began toi be reported in early March, which marked the beginning of the dramatic increase in cases which h last until mid-May.

The recent cluster in the UK had clear evidence of human to human transmission, which included detection of a mild case via testing of a sputum sample.  This mild case raised concerns that detection of the virus may be largely limited to samples from the lower respiratory tract, and claims of a lack of onward transmission may be compromised by false negatives for samples collected from the upper respiratory tract. 

This preference has striking similarities with SARS, as did the spread from Saudi Arabia to the UK via commercial airline.  Similarly, the large cluster of cases involving health care workers linked to an ICU in Jordan last April also mimic the effects of SARS 10 years ago and raise concerns that a spike in cases may be reported in the near term.

The new guidelines focus on cases originating from the Arabian Peninsula and encompass all countries in the Middle East.

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