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01 April 2015
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Overview of the Novel Coronavirus
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What is novel Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses constitute a big family including viruses that can cause colds, and in some cases can cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Most cases of infections with this virus are simple. Its most common symptoms are high temperature, body aches, sore throat, running nose and cough. These symptoms last for days and then disappear. However, Coronavirus, which has appeared recently, is a new virus that we do not yet know a lot about its characteristics and ways of its transmission. The Ministry of Health (MOH) is working alongside with the World Health Organization (WHO) to learn more about it.
What is the incubation period for the novel Coronavirus?
The incubation period for Coronavirus is still unknown, but the incubation period of the known patterns of Corona is approximately a week, and we think it's mostly the same.
There are sayings that those detected cases are types of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). What is true?
Novel Coronavirus varies clearly in terms of its genetic aspect than the virus causing (SARS). Examinations of infected cases currently being followed up and a smoother image will be given after completing.
What are the symptoms of infection with Corona?
According to the discovered cases, the symptoms include acute and severe respiratory symptoms, accompanied by fever, cough, suffocation and difficulty in respiration.
How are persons infected with Coronavirus?
According to the limited information which is available so far, there is no yet accurate scientific evidence identifying the way through which the virus can be transmitted from one person to another. But, there are sayings that it's similar to the other kinds of Coronavirus. The Ministry of Health (MOH) is seeking with its partners in the international organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO) to learn more about ways of transmission, including through animals. The ways, through which the other kinds of Coronavirus can be transmitted from one person to another, include the following:
Direct transmission through droplets expelled during coughs and sneezes.
Indirect transmission through touching surfaces and devices contaminated with the virus, and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes.
Direct contact with patients.
To what extent does the novel Coronavirus spread in the Kingdom?
MOH is harnessing all its potential and expertise in this disease surveillance, and to recognize the ways of its transmission and protection from it, as well as providing the integrated health care for the injured cases. MOH has been working alongside with WHO and a number of global specialized medical centers; to learn more about the disease. The number of cases infected with this virus in the kingdom from the month of Shawwal 1433H (September 2012) and up till now reached 70 cases, 38 cases of them are dead, May Allah forgive them.
How are the newly infected cases diagnosed?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has adopted a temporary definition for the cases infected with the virus to help people working in the medical field to diagnose new cases of patients. This definition will be updated when more information becomes available. The current definition includes some criteria for the diagnosis of patients, manifested in the examination of the patient, possibility of being infected with the Coronavirus, and confirmation of his infection. These criteria are based on Clinical and epidemiological and laboratory information.
What are the ways of protection against the Coronavirus?
We don't know a lot about the characteristics and ways of transmission of Coronavirus so far, but the Ministry of Health is coordinating with the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as a number of international experts to learn more about it. The Ministry of Health recommends citizens and residents generally to abide by the following health guidelines to reduce the spread of flu and infectious respiratory diseases until we know the ways of the virus transmission:
Wash your hands well and continually with water and soap or with other disinfectants used for hand washing, especially after coughing, sneezing and using toilets. Also, don't forget to wash your hands before and after handling with or preparing foods.
Use handkerchief when coughing or sneezing and cover your mouth and nose with it, then get rid of the handkerchief in a waste basket. If there are no handkerchiefs, it is preferred to cough or sneeze in the top of your arm, not in the hands.
Try as much as possible to avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth with your hand, because it can transmit the virus after touching surfaces contaminated with the virus.
Wear gags in the overcrowded places during Hajj or Umrah.
Keep performing the other hygienic habits such as balance diet, and physical activity, and sleep well.
Avoid as much as possible contacting with infected people. Also, don't forget to consult your doctor when necessary, and follow up the new information provided about the disease by the Ministry of Health.
Is there a vaccine for the novel Coronavirus?
There is no vaccine currently available worldwide.
Has WHO recommended any travel or trade restrictions related to this new virus?
WHO does not recommend that any travel or trade restrictions are applied with respect to this event so far.
What is the reason for the recent increase of Coronavirus mortality?
Till now, it is not certain whether the Coronavirus infection causes higher mortality than other viruses. It has been observed most of the persons who have died so far have been older men, or people with chronic diseases affecting the immune system, which, in turn, increases the potentiality of developing acute complications, leading to death. The same happens also with seasonal influenza. There might be several infections of the virus, but mild infections with symptoms limited to those of a running cold, after which all such symptoms are cured altogether, without need for referral to a hospital or health facility. That's why such infections remain undiscovered.
It is claimed that the dialysis device in al-Ahsa Region is the source of infection. To what extent are such claims true?
The Ministry of Health has been working on strict investigations in al-Ahsa Region, in cooperation with WHO experts, and came up with the result that the dialysis device has nothing to do with the infection transmission.
Are there any researches currently conducted to identify the features of the virus?
It goes without saying that the features of Coronavirus are still unknown. However, since the emergence of the virus, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has worked hand in hand with many international organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as a number of international centers specialized in the study and surveillance of the virus, with the aim of getting familiar with the virus's genes, components, features, ways of infection transmission and symptoms. Once such studies are done, scientists will be able to give a clearer image of this virus.
Have high-quality laboratories been provided for studying the novel virus? and
What is the purpose for accumulating samples and tests at referential laboratories in cases of the outbreak of novel and emergent diseases?
MOH has its regional referential laboratories throughout the Kingdom's regions, in addition to integrated laboratories at all hospitals disseminated in all regions, including the eastern one.
With regard to the current referential laboratory, as it is globally followed, in case of detecting new diseases, Lab tests are focused in one referential laboratory at the national level; in order to ensure the accumulation of experiences among workers and to prevent the occurrence of any inaccurate results, compiling to what is globally followed. Jeddah Governorate has been selected as the national headquarter; because of its vicinity to the Two Holy Mosques, knowing that the equipment and capabilities of this type of laboratories are available, Allah be praised, and they are to be added when necessary.
What is the awareness role to be assumed by the MOH towards the updates of the novel Coronavirus?
Many of the virus's features and ways of transmission are completely unidentified so far. Let along the fact that the detected cases are still limited. Proceeding from this ground, the Ministry has spread health awareness among the targeted public through press and health releases, according to the available information. In addition, the Ministry sought to communicate with the public through social networks, especially Twitter and Facebook, as well as the MOH Portal (
). Such efforts have been further enhanced by the Median Information and Health Awareness System, through the toll-free number: 8002494444. That's to be added to the press conferences to which mass media (press, channels and websites) have been invited. The Ministry of Health will continue to provide and intensify health awareness by harnessing ally means and channels, in accordance with the updates on the ground, inspired by the health awareness norms and experiences embraced in such cases.
What are the procedures taken against suspects?
The Ministry of Health applies the recommendations put forth by competent international organizations, such as WHO, in examining those in contact with patients. Patients, those in contact with them, as well as health practitioners dealing with patients are examined under certain criteria. The Ministry is committed, also, to make known of all confirmed cases, within the framework of transparency adopted by the Ministry in dealing with media. The Ministry informs all citizens and residents of the updates and developments of the novel virus, through the MOH press releases.
Why are most cases centered in al-Ahsa Region?
Since its emergence, Coronavirus cases have been detected in a number of regions: Al-Ahsa, Dammam, Riyadh, Al-Qassim, Bisha, Hafr Al-Batin, Taif, Wadi Al-Dawaser, Jeddah and Asir up to date. Underway is a survey to identify the reasons why most cases are centered in al-Ahsa Region.
Is there a medication available for this disease?
There is no available vaccine or a qualitative medication available for this disease so far, however, patients take a supportive medication to deal with the complications and alleviate their impacts, till the patient exceeds the danger stage.
Why does the Kingdom record the highest rate of infection with novel Coronavirus?
The discovery of the novel Coronavirus in the Kingdom doesn't mean that it doesn't exist in the other countries. It is worth mentioning that Jordan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Britain have recoded cases infected with this virus. This may be attributed to the application of an advanced surveillance program for this disease by the Ministry of Health, in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), a number of specialized medical centers, and international experts in this field.
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Last Update: 18 July 2013
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