Coronavirus Update: Severe Respiratory Illnesses Worldwide

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End-point of PCR. PCR product compared with DNA ladder in agarose gel. DNA ladder (1), the PCR product in low concentration (2), and high concentration (3) Photo by: Saperaud

End-point of PCR. PCR product compared with DNA ladder in agarose gel. DNA ladder (1), the PCR product in low concentration (2), and high concentration (3) Photo by: Saperaud

Coronavirus: Confirmed Case

A confirmed case exists when a patient has had laboratory testing done, which came back positive for the novel coronavirus. To test for the new virus, scientists use Real Time- Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) amplifies the DNA strand throughout the 40 cycles. RT-PCR is a shorter test than the standard PCR, which allows for a faster diagnosis.

WHO Guidance

The World Health Organization, with the information that is available, is recommending that all Member States (countries belonging to the WHO, including the U.S.) test patients for the novel coronavirus who are presenting with unexplained pneumonia or severe respiratory illnesses and are not responding to treatment, especially those that have traveled to areas where there have been confirmed cases.

The WHO recommends that countries monitor their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to look for any unusual patterns, and asks  Member State to promptly notify the WHO of any new case or cluster of cases, but at this time the WHO has not placed any travel restrictions and continues to monitor the situation.

Novel Coronavirus: Are You In Danger?

Countries that have had confirmed cases of this deadly strain of novel coronavirus include, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Kingdom. So far, there have not been any reported cases in the United States, according to the CDC. As the situation develops and experts learn more about the virus, we may then begin to understand how the virus is spread, how to treat it, and most importantly, how to prevent infection by this dangerous virus.

Resources:

EMedicineHealth. What is RT-PCR? Accessed February 26, 2013.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Case Definition and Guidance. (2013). Accessed February 26, 2013.

Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. WHO confirms 13th Novel Coronavirus Case. (2013). Accessed February 26, 2013.

World Health Organization. Novel Coronavirus Update. (2013). Accessed February 26, 2013.

World Health Organization. Laboratory Testing for novel coronavirus. (2012). Accessed February 26, 2013.

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