The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia has announced two additional laboratory-confirmed cases and two deaths in previously confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection in Saudi Arabia.
The new cases are a 69-year-old male and a 66-year-old male from Riyadh. Both were admitted to hospital on June 28, 2013 and are currently in critical condition in an intensive care unit.
In addition, the two deaths in previously confirmed cases are a 63-year-old female from Riyadh and a 75-year-old male from Al Ahsa.
Globally, from September 2012 to date, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been informed of a total of 79 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 42 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.
Healthcare 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.
Healthcare 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.