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7 May 2013

Epidemiological update: additional confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (ECDC, May 7 2013, edited)

[Source: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), full page: (LINK). Edited.]

Epidemiological update: additional confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

07 May 2013


In the last five days, 13 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (nCoV) infection have been reported by the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia [1].

Information on the 13 new cases is limited at present and investigations are underway by Saudi Arabian authorities. It seems however that they were all associated with a cluster of cases in Al-Ahsa in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia linked to the same healthcare facility with onset dates over a 3 week period (14 April-1 May 2013) [1]. 

There are now 30 cases, of which 18 are known to have died, since the earliest identified cases in Jordan with onset dates in April 2012. Prior to the Al-Ahsa cluster, the most recent case reported was from the EU area and was an imported case that came from the United Arab Emirates to Germany on March 19 for medical care and reported by the Robert Koch Institute [2].

To date, 22 of the 30 nCoV cases have been reported by Saudi Arabia. There have been 6 cases diagnosed in Europe, two in Germany and 4 in the United Kingdom. Of these, three were persons coming for medical care and one was arriving to the UK while unwell. This latter case resulted in two associated person-to-person transmissions in the same family in the UK, one in a domestic setting and one in a hospital setting [3]. There have been extensive investigations among the close contacts in Europe, including using serological testing.  No evidence of additional person-to-person transmission has been identified in Germany or in the UK.

Surveillance and clinical guidance for nCoV has been published by WHO [4,5] with related ECDC guidance to EU Member States available on this website [6].

ECDC continues to monitor information on the situation of nCoV worldwide and will be reviewing its 19 February 2013 rapid risk assessment in the light of this new development. The recommendations of the 19 February 2013 rapid risk assessment can be found in reference [7].



  1. ProMed. Novel coronavirus – Eastern Mediterranean (18): Saudi Arabia
  2. RKI. Aktualisierung der Risikoeinsch√§tzung des RKI zu Erkrankungsf√§llen durch das neuartige Coronavirus (hCoV-EMC)  26 March 2013
  3. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) UK Novel Coronavirus Investigation team. Evidence of person-to-person transmission within a family cluster of novel coronavirus infections, United Kingdom, February 2013. Euro Surveill. 2013;18(11):pii=20427.
  4. WHO. Interim surveillance recommendations for human infection with novel coronavirus - update 18 March 2013
  5. Interim guidance document on clinical management of severe acute respiratory infections when novel coronavirus is suspected: what to do and what not to do.
  6. ECDC  Public Health Development  Novel Coronaviruses - New guidance by WHO  - surveillance, applied epidemiological studies and clinical guidance.
  7. ECDC Risk Assessment severe respiratory disease associated with a novel coronavirus, 19 February 2013.