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East Mediterr Health J. 2013;19 Suppl 1:S55-60.

Enhanced surveillance and investigation of coronavirus: what is required?

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Public Health England, London, United Kingdom.


Following the discovery in September 2012 of 2 patients, both with links to the Eastern Mediterranean Region, with serious respiratory illness due to novel coronavirus, all countries have instigated surveillance and laboratory activities to detect further cases, with intensive case-contact investigations undertaken on laboratory confirmation of cases. A total of 30 cases, of whom 18 have died, and at least 3 clusters have been detected to date (1 cluster among health-care workers and another 2 clusters among family members). To date, transmission studies have shown a low risk of onward human transmission, with clinical presentation remaining severe for the majority. Many questions remain including the zoonotic source and geographical extent of infection. Surveillance has been extended to include clusters of cases or health-care workers with severe, undiagnosed respiratory illness regardless of travel history. Environmental studies, on-going surveillance and linked case-contact investigations will provide a critical role in answering some of these issues.

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