On Dec. 20, 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) was informed of an additional laboratory-confirmed case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in United Arab Emirates (UAE).
A 68-year-old male with onset of illness on Dec. 13 was admitted to the hospital on Dec. 14, 2013 for joint replacement; he was also complaining of cough and transferred to the intensive care unit on Dec. 16 due to rapid deterioration. On Dec. 19, the diagnosis was laboratory confirmed for MERS-CoV. The patient has underlying medical conditions. Preliminary investigations reveal that he had no recent travel history and no contact with animals, and no contact with laboratory confirmed case. Investigation among family and healthcare contacts is ongoing.
On Dec. 17, WHO was informed of an additional two laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV in Saudi Arabia. The first case is a 51-year-old female from Saudi Arabia, living in Jawf province with onset of symptoms on Nov. 20, 2013. She has underlying chronic disease and was transferred to Riyadh for treatment in an intensive care unit. She had no reported contact with animals. The epidemiological investigation is ongoing. The second case is a 26-year-old female who is a non-Saudi healthcare worker in Riyadh. She is asymptomatic. She had reported contact with a 37-year-old male laboratory confirmed case that was reported to WHO on Nov. 21, 2013.
Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a total of 166 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 71 deaths.
Healthcare 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.
People at high risk of severe disease due to MERS-CoV should avoid close contact with animals when visiting farms or barn areas where the virus is known to be potentially circulating. For the general public, when visiting a farm or a barn, general hygiene measures, such as regular handwashing before and after touching animals, avoiding contact with sick animals, and following food hygiene practices, should be adhered to.