The World Health Organization (WHO) has been informed of an additional four laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection in Saudi Arabia.
The first patient is a 55-year-old man with an underlying medical condition from Medina who became ill on Aug. 17, 2013 and is currently hospitalized.
The second patient is a 38-year-old man with an underlying medical condition from Hafar al-Batin who became ill on Aug. 8, 2013 and died on Aug. 17, 2013.
The third and the fourth cases are family contacts of the second patient. Both the cases, a 16-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl, tested positive for the MERS-CoV virus. They are both healthy and do not have any symptoms of illness.
Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a total of 108 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 50 deaths.
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.
Health care facilities are reminded of the importance of systematic implementation of infection prevention and control (IPC). Healthcare 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, healthcare workers and visitors.