What Is the Current Situation?
From April 2012 to March 2013, a total of 17 people in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United Arab Emirates were confirmed to have respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus. Eleven of these 17 people died.
In the UK, an infected man likely spread the virus to two family members. He had recently traveled to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and got sick before returning to the UK. This cluster of cases provides the first evidence of person-to-person transmission. The UK’s Health Protection Agency is continuing to investigate this. Also, clusters of cases in Saudi Arabia and Jordan are being investigated.
CDC does not recommend that anyone change their travel plans because of these cases of the novel coronavirus. CDC recommends that US travelers to countries in or near the Arabian Peninsulamonitor their health and see a doctor right away if they develop fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath. They should tell the doctor about their recent travel.
What Is a Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a cause of the common cold. A coronavirus also was the cause of the severe respiratory illness called SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). SARS caused a global epidemic in 2003, but there have not been any known cases of SARS since 2004. This novel coronavirus is not the same coronavirus that caused SARS.
What Is Known About Novel Coronavirus?
The novel coronavirus is different from any other coronavirus that has been previously found in people. In the UK, the virus likely spread from an infected person to two family members. Symptoms of novel coronavirus infection have included fever, cough, and shortness of breath. CDC is working with WHO and other partners to understand the public health risks from this virus.
How Can Travelers Protect Themselves?
Taking these everyday actions can help prevent the spread of germs and protect against colds, flu, and other illnesses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Be sure you are up-to-date with all of your shots.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid contact with other people to keep from infecting them.