A 56-year-old woman in Qatar died of a Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection on Aug 31, marking the country's third case in the past month, according to media reports today.
The Qatari Supreme Council of Health said the woman, who suffered from several chronic illnesses and "risk factors," was hospitalized in an intensive care unit (ICU) on Aug 23, according to a Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) report yesterday. The story gave no details on how she might have been exposed to the virus.
Some news reports described the woman's case as Qatar's first fatal one, but a 49-year-old Qatari got sick in his home country September 2012 after a trip to Saudi Arabia and died of MERS in a London hospital in June. Another Qatari man also contracted the disease last fall and recovered after being treated in Germany.
The other two more recent cases in Qatar involved a 59-year-old man who got sick while traveling abroad and a 29-ear-old man with chronic illnesses. Both fell ill in August. The older man recovered, but the younger patient remains in critical condition in an ICU, according to the KUNA story.
The story said that contacts of the recent patients have all tested negative for the virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet acknowledged the new Qatari case or two apparently new cases that were reported by Saudi Arabia on Sep 1. The WHO's MERS-CoV count stands at 108 cases and 50 deaths.
In other developments, a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official said today that 72 people from 29 US states have been tested for MERS-CoV, all with negative results. Aron Hall, DVM, MSPH, an epidemiologist with the CDC's Division of Viral Diseases, made the comment during a teleconference on zoonotic diseases.
Sep 3 KUNA story
Aug 29 CIDRAP News story noting recent Qatari cases
Aug 26 CIDRAP News item on previous Qatari cases