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Saudi Arabia Reports 2 Health Workers Infected With nCoV, Further Evidencing Person-To-Person Transmission

“Two health workers in Saudi Arabia have become infected with a potentially fatal new SARS-like virus [known as novel coronavirus, or nCoV,] after catching it from patients in their care — the first evidence of such transmission within a hospital, the World Health Organization said,” Reuters reports. “The health workers are a 45-year-old man, who became ill on May 2 and is currently in a critical condition, and a 43-year-old woman with a coexisting health condition, who fell ill on May 8 and is in a stable condition, the WHO said,” the news service writes (Kelland, 5/15). “[T]he virus has likely already spread person-to-person in some circumstances, including between patients [in the same hospital room] in France,” the Associated Press notes (Stobbe, 5/15). However, “‘[t]his is the first time health care workers have been diagnosed with nCoV (novel coronavirus) infection after exposure to patients,’ the WHO said in a statement,” according to Agence France-Presse/Channel News Asia (5/16).

In related news, “[a] group of coronavirus experts has published its proposal to name [the] new, deadly virus after the Middle East, the region where it originates,” Science Insider reports. “In a short paper published online [Wednesday] by the Journal of Virology, the Coronavirus Study Group (CSG), along with several other scientists, recommends calling the pathogen Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV),” the news service writes (Enserink, 5/15). “Since last September, WHO says it has been informed of a global total of 40 laboratory confirmed cases of the virus, including 20 deaths,” AFP notes (5/16).