Five Cases of MERS-CoV in Saudi Arabia are Reported to WHO

Between Feb. 5 and Feb. 7, 2015, the IHR National Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (SAU) notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of five additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection.

Details of the cases are as follows:

1. A 50-year-old female from Najran city developed symptoms on Jan. 31 and was admitted to a hospital on Feb. 5. The patient has comorbidities. She attended a wedding party in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms. The patient has no history of exposure to other risk factors in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms. She was admitted to the ICU and is currently in critical condition.

2. A 57-year-old male from Riyadh city developed symptoms on Jan. 25 and was admitted to a hospital on Jan. 29. The patient has comorbidities but no history of exposure to any known risk factors in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms. He was admitted to the ICU and is currently in critical condition.

3. A 49-year-old male from Dammam city developed symptoms on Feb. 2 and was admitted to a hospital on Feb. 4. The patient has comorbidities but no history of exposure to any known risk factors in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms. He was admitted to the ICU and is currently in critical condition.

4. A 62-year-old male from Riyadh city developed symptoms on Jan. 30 and was admitted to a hospital on Feb. 4. The patient has comorbidities. He owns camels and has a history of frequent contact with them and consumption of raw camel milk. The patient has no history of exposure to other known risk factors in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms. He was admitted to a negative-pressure isolation room on a ward and is currently in stable condition.

5. A 34-year-old, non-national male from Riyadh city developed symptoms on Jan. 31 and was admitted to a hospital on Feb. 3. The patient has no comorbidities and no history of exposure to any known risk factors in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms. He was admitted to a negative-pressure isolation room on a ward and is currently in stable condition.

Contact tracing of household contacts and healthcare contacts is ongoing for these cases.

The IHR National Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also notified WHO of the death of one previously reported MERS-CoV case.

Globally, WHO has been notified of 983 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including at least 360 related deaths.

Based on the current situation and available information, WHO encourages all of its member states to continue their surveillance for acute respiratory infections and to carefully review any unusual patterns.

Infection prevention and control measures are critical to prevent the possible spread of MERS-CoV in healthcare facilities. It is not always possible to identify patients with MERS-CoV early because like other respiratory infections, the early symptoms of MERS-CoV are non-specific. Therefore, healthcare workers should always apply standard precautions consistently with all patients, regardless of their diagnosis. Droplet precautions should be added to the standard precautions when providing care to patients with symptoms of acute respiratory infection; contact precautions and eye protection should be added when caring for probable or confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection; airborne precautions should be applied when performing aerosol generating procedures.

Until more is understood about MERS-CoV, people with diabetes, renal failure, chronic lung disease, and immunocompromised persons are considered to be at high risk of severe disease from MERSCoV infection. Therefore, these people should avoid close contact with animals, particularly camels, when visiting farms, markets, or barn areas where the virus is known to be potentially circulating. General hygiene measures, such as regular handwashing before and after touching animals and avoiding contact with sick animals, should be adhered to.

Food hygiene practices should be observed. People should avoid drinking raw camel milk or camel urine, or eating meat that has not been properly cooked.

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.

Source: WHO

TAGS: WHO Pathogens
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