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SASTM Newsflash - MERS-CoV - Eastern Mediterranean: Saudi Arabia, new cases - WHO


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As part of the continuing surveillance for MERS-COV in [the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] KSA and to ensure clarity of the recently reported cases from KSA MOH. Attached is an update on what was reported yesterday [28 Aug 2013] and today [29 Aug 2013] by case numbers.


SA83: 55-year-old male, resident who has chronic underlying disease. He presented on [17 Aug 2013] with pneumonia and required ventilator support. This is the 1st reported case from Madinah. Contact tracing and screening are ongoing. There was a probable contact in a health care facility in Madinah with the recently reported Qatari patient diagnosed in Qatar. Close collaboration in the investigation is ongoing between the Qatari and Saudi health authorities. No animal contact reported.


SA84: 38-year-old male citizen from Hafr Albatin. He is diabetic. The date of onset was [8 Aug 2013] and he presented with bilateral pneumonia. He progressed to ARDS [acute respiratory distress syndrome] and died with respiratory failure on [17 Aug 2013]. Family contacts were screened and the virus was detected in 2 asymptomatic contacts.


New cases to be announced today [29 Aug 2013]:

SA85: 16-year-old male family contact of a confirmed case (SA84), asymptomatic and no comorbidities.


SA86: 7-year-old female family contact of a confirmed case (SA84), asymptomatic and no comorbidities.


With the inclusion of these 2 newly confirmed infections, the global total of laboratory confirmed cases has increased to 108, including 50 deaths.


The identification of asymptomatic infections with the MERS-CoV in individuals without history of comorbidities further supports the evolving picture that comorbidities are a key determinant in the expression of clinical disease in infected individuals.


WHO: global update

Date: Thu 29 Aug 2013


WHO has been informed of an additional 2 laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection in Qatar.


The patients include a 59-year old man with an underlying medical condition who became ill on [15 Aug 2013]. He is currently hospitalised and is in stable condition.


Preliminary epidemiological investigations reveal that the patient travelled to Medina, Saudi Arabia for 6 days and returned to Qatar on [15 Aug 2013]. He did not take part in Umrah [pilgrimage] and did not visit to Al-Masjid an-Nabawi in Medina. Further investigation is on-going.


The 2nd patient is a 29-year-old man with an underlying medical condition who had no history of recent travel outside the country.


The results of both the cases were confirmed by an international reference laboratory. A total of 138 healthcare workers, family and community contacts have been screened in the country and so far all tested negative for MERS-CoV infection.


Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a total of 104 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 49 deaths.


Based on the current situation and available information, WHO encourages all Member States to continue their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to carefully review any unusual patterns.


Health care providers are advised to maintain vigilance. Recent travellers returning from the Middle East who develop SARI should be tested for MERS-CoV as advised in the current surveillance recommendations.


Specimens from patients' lower respiratory tracts should be obtained for diagnosis where possible. Clinicians are reminded that MERS-CoV infection should be considered even with atypical signs and symptoms, such as diarrhoea, in patients who are immunocompromised.


Health care facilities are reminded of the importance of systematic implementation of infection prevention and control (IPC). Health care facilities that provide care for patients suspected or confirmed with MERS-CoV infection should take appropriate measures to decrease the risk of transmission of the virus to other patients, health care workers and visitors.


All Member States are reminded to promptly assess and notify WHO of any new case of infection with MERS-CoV, along with information about potential exposures that may have resulted in infection and a description of the clinical course. Investigation into the source of exposure should promptly be initiated to identify the mode of exposure, so that further transmission of the virus can be prevented.


WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event nor does it currently recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions.


WHO has convened an Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (IHR) to advise the Director-General on the status of the current situation. The Emergency Committee, which comprises international experts from all WHO Regions, unanimously advised that, with the information now available, and using a risk-assessment approach, the conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) have not at present been met.


Communicated by: ProMED-mail




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The content and opinions are neither pre-screened nor endorsed by the SASTM. The content should neither be interpreted nor quoted as inherently accurate or authoritative.

The information provided in SASTM Newsflashes is collected from various news sources, health agencies and government agencies. Although the information is believed to be accurate, any express or implied warranty as to its suitability for any purpose is categorically disclaimed. In particular, this information should not be construed to serve as medical advice for any individual. The health information provided is general in nature, and may not be appropriate for all persons. Medical advice may vary because of individual differences in such factors as health risks, current medical conditions and treatment, allergies, pregnancy and breast feeding, etc. In addition, global health risks are constantly evolving and changing. International travelers should consult a qualified physician for medical advice prior to departure.

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