Three more MERS cases reported in Saudi Arabia
The trickle of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases continued today with a report of three more in Saudi Arabia.
The cases include one in Jeddah province and two in the Riyadh region, according to a translation of a Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) statement posted by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board.
It said the Jeddah patient is a 26-year-old healthcare worker who is in an intensive care unit. The report sounded similar to an MOH announcement on Mar 28, which cited a case in a 26-year-old male citizen in Jeddah but gave no other details.
The two Riyadh patients both have chronic illnesses, today's statement said. One is a 77-year-old who is in stable condition, and the other is a 59-year-old in an intensive care unit. The report did not list the new patients' genders or give any information about possible exposures to the virus.
With the new cases, Saudi Arabia's MERS count has increased to 166 cases with 64 deaths.
In other developments, an MOH statement dated yesterday rejected what it said were reports on social networking sites of new MERS cases in Al-Kharj, which lies south of Riyadh. It quoted an MOH official as saying that "the condition of the virus is stable."
Apr 2 Flutrackers post on MERS cases
Mar 28 MOH statement
Apr 1 Saudi MOH statement
Report: Saudi Arabia to compensate health workers exposed to dangerous diseases
Responding to fears about MERS-CoV, Saudi Arabia's MOH will pay a special monthly allowance to health workers who are routinely exposed to highly infectious diseases, according to an Arab News report today.
The story said the Saudi medical community "has demanded insurance cover in the wake of the spread of the novel coronavirus, especially among people working in emergency units and pathology laboratories."
"The Ministry of Health has pledged to protect medical and paramedical personnel through the introduction of insurance against infectious diseases," Sami Badawood, Jeddah health affairs director, was quoted as saying.
Officials said the health ministry has referred the plan to higher authorities for final approval.
The demand for compensation for the risk of contracting infectious diseases emerged after a male Saudi nurse working at King Abdulaziz Hospital in Jeddah was diagnosed as having the deadly coronavirus, the story said.
Since then, the MOH has been testing hospital workers to make sure they are "virus free" and has launched programs to train workers on how to protect themselves from infection, according to the report.
Apr 2 Arab News story