WHO reports UAE MERS case, confirms 5 Saudi cases

The wife of a United Arab Emirates (UAE) man who contracted Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is now infected but has no symptoms, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today as it confirmed the latest five cases reported in Saudi Arabia.

The six cases raise the WHO's MERS-CoV tally to 176 cases, including 74 deaths.

The new UAE case is in a 59-year-old woman from Sharjah who is married to a 68-year-old man whose case was reported earlier, the WHO noted. Despite having no symptoms, the woman is in isolation in a hospital.

She is reported to have no history of contact with animals or recent travel, the agency said. It also said other contacts of the couple have tested negative for the virus.

The woman's husband, who had been treated in an intensive care unit (ICU), has died, the WHO said. His illness was reported by the media on Dec 20 and noted by the WHO on Dec 22. He had diabetes and chronic kidney failure.

In confirming the five latest cases reported by Saudi Arabian authorities, the WHO added a little additional information. The Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) said all five people are from Riyadh.

The cases involve a 73-year-old Saudi man, a 57-year-old Saudi man, and three healthcare workers—two women and a man—who are asymptomatic, the WHO said.

The 73-year-old was hospitalized in an ICU on Nov 25 and died Dec 17, the agency said. His MERS-CoV infection was confirmed posthumously on Dec 19. He had no known exposures to animals or other MERS patients and no history of travel outside Riyadh.

The 57-year-old was hospitalized on Dec 17 and remains in an ICU, the WHO said. Like the 73-year-old, he has no history of recent travel or exposure to animals or other case-patients.

The WHO gave no new information about the three healthcare workers. The Saudi MOH earlier said they were a 27-year-old Saudi, a 43-year-old resident, and a 35-year-old resident (implying that the last two are foreign nationals), all of whom were exposed to MERS patients.

See also:

Dec 31 WHO statement

Related Dec 30 CIDRAP News story

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