The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning American doctors about a mysterious new coronavirus that's been claiming lives overseas in the Middle East, but has yet to be detected in the U.S.
According to the CDCs latest report in its journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on March 7, there have so far been a total of 14 confirmed cases of the novel infection reported to the World Health Organization, with eight deaths. The illnesses were found to have occurred in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and the United Kingdom from April 2012 to February 2013.
No cases have yet been reported in the U.S.
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can range from the common cold to more deadly varieties like SARS, which killed 800 in a 2003 global epidemic.
The WHO has been tracking the disease since September 2012 after the deaths of a patient in Saudi Arabia and the hospitalization of a Qatari national in the U.K.
This particular infection presents as a severe respiratory illness.
The CDC is requesting that doctors immediately notify the agency if a patients comes in with unexplained severe respiratory illness within 10 days of traveling from the Arabia Peninsula or nearby countries including Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. This also applies to people who present with severe illness who are in close contact with a recent traveler to the region who had a recent fever or respiratory illness.