Saudi Arabia reports new MERS cases, infection control plan

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported three new MERS cases in recent days, adding that an earlier-reported patient has recovered. The agency also confirmed a MERS death today and one on Nov 28 in previously confirmed case-patients.

The first patient, whose case was reported on Nov 28, is a 34-year-old male expatriate living in the city of Sakakah. He has an underlying medical condition and is in stable condition. The MOH reports that he had contact with MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) patients in community settings. He is not a healthcare worker and had no exposure to animals or MERS patients in clinical settings.

The second patient reported on Nov 28 is a 40-year-old male expatriate living in Taif. He has a preexisting disease and is in stable condition. He is not a healthcare worker and had no animal exposure. The MOH is investigating whether or not the patient had contact with MERS cases in community or clinical settings.

The case-patient reported on Nov 29 is a 62-year-old Saudi man from the city of Rafha who is in stable condition. He has a history of animal exposure. He is not a healthcare worker, has no underlying medical conditions, and had no contact with clinical or community MERS cases.

Recovery and deaths

The MOH reported a recovery in a 53-year-old Saudi man from Sakakah on Nov 28. He had an underlying medical condition and is not a healthcare worker.

On Nov 28, the MOH reported the MERS-related death of a 42-year-old male expatriate from Taif. He had a preexisting disease and was not a healthcare worker. Today the MOH reported the death of a 79-year-old Saudi woman from Al-Kharj. She had an underlying medical condition and was not a healthcare worker.

The new cases, recovery, and deaths bring the total number of MERS-CoV cases in Saudi Arabia to 814. Ten cases are active, 454 patients have recovered, and 350 have died, the MOH said.

Infection control programs

In related news, the Saudi MOH issued a press release on Nov 28 describing its next phase of infection control plans to combat MERS in healthcare settings. The MOH said it is working to train and qualify medical sector workers as infection control inspectors to ensure that standards at health facilities are met, said Dr. Abdullah Assiri, Saudi assistant deputy minister for preventive health.

Programs in development to increase the number of infection control inspectors in each directorate include creating a qualifying diploma in infection control and partnering with Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore to offer short training courses to Saudi medical workers.

The MOH has already trained more than 40,000 healthcare workers in infection control inspection procedures, Assiri said. It has also implemented a program to assess MERS readiness at more than 400 Saudi hospitals.

See also:

Nov 28 MOH update

Nov 29 MOH update

Dec 1 MOH update

Nov 28 MOH press release

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