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Important To Understand How People Contract Coronavirus - WHO

posted 13 May 2013, 12:21 by Mpelembe   [ updated 13 May 2013, 12:22 ]

A spokesman for the World Health Organization says it is necessary to understand how people get infected with a new strain of coronavirus in order to control the current outbreak.

GENEVASWITZERLAND (MAY 13, 2013) (WHO HANDOUT) -  A new strain of coronavirus (nCoV) found last year has killed at least 18 people in the Middle East and Europe.

The World Health Organization said it seemed likely the new virus, which can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia, could be passed between humans, but only after prolonged, close contact.

Spokesman Gregory Hartl said on Monday (May 13) it was important to understand exactly how people contract the virus.

"We need to understand, urgently, how people contract this virus. We don't need to know the origin of the virus, which is not the same thing. But we need to understand what interactions with the virus cause a human to become infected. There seem to be - for the moment, we see men much more affected than women. We don't understand exactly why this is the case. We also think that perhaps underlying medical conditions or weaknesses might play a role, we need to understand this. And above all, we need to know what actions of people bring them into the contact with this virus and where. How do they get infected. Only once we know that can we stop these interactions from occurring and can we hope to control this outbreak."

Ali Mohamed Zaki, an Egyptian virologist, identified the new virus last June in a patient at the hospital where he was working in JeddahSaudi Arabia.

More recently, there has been a cluster of cases in a hospital in Hofuf in Saudi Arabia's Eastern province, as well as a case of transmission between two patients sharing a hospital room in France.