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SASTM Newsflash - MERS-CoV: Updated 21 July 2013


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MERS-CoV -- update 21 Jul 2013


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


Both the cases are currently critically ill and hospitalized in ICUs. The 1st case is a 41 year old Saudi man in Riyadh who presented to the hospital with symptoms on [15 Jul 2013]. The 2nd patient is a 59 year old Saudi woman in the Al-Ahsa governorate. She presented with symptoms on [11 Jul 2013].


Both patients have underlying medical conditions, but neither patient has had contact with known MERS-CoV confirmed cases or animals.


WHO is seeking more information from the National IHR Focal Point of Saudi Arabia.


Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a total of 90 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 45 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 travelers 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 diarrhea, 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


As of 21 Jul 2013, there have been a global total of 90 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV, including 45 deaths. This report includes the 2 cases identified in Saudi Arabia and reported on 18 Jul 2013. The above report includes the additional information that both of these patients had underlying medical conditions (not specified), and that neither patient had a history of contact with known MERS-CoV confirmed cases or with animals.





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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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