Eleven more MERS cases in Saudi Arabia, 2 in Jordan

Saudi Arabia's health ministry reported 11 more MERS-CoV cases in the past 3 days, 9 of them in Riyadh where a hospital-linked outbreak is under way, and Jordan's media is reporting 2 more cases, pushing the number of recently detected cases there to 6.

Details in the Jordanian media reports, published in Arabic and flagged by an infectious disease news message board and blog, are scanty, but suggest the possibility that some may be linked to hospital spread. A flare-up of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) is occurring in Jordan after 8 months of no cases.

Disease activity in Jordan and in neighboring Saudi Arabia are raising concerns, coming just weeks ahead of the busy international travel season surrounding the Hajj religious observance in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi numbers rise steadily

In separate announcements over the past 3 days, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 11 new lab-confirmed cases, 9 in Riyadh, 1 in Ha'il in the north central part of the country, and 1 in Najran, a city in the southern part of the country that has now reported four cases since early August.

The country also reported 7 more MERS deaths, 6 in Riyadh and 1 in Najran. All but one of the deaths involved previously announced patients.

Of the 9 new cases in Riyadh, 8 likely have links to the hospital outbreak centered at King Abdulaziz Medical City, a large National Guard hospital in the city. Seven of the 8 patients were contacts of a suspected or confirmed MERS-CoV case in the hospital or in the community, and the contact status is still under review for the eighth patient.

Two of Riyadh's newest cases are in foreign healthcare workers, a 24-year-old man who is hospitalized in critical condition and a 33-year-old woman whose condition is listed as stable.

Najran's latest case-patient is a 54-year-old Saudi man who didn't have contact with an earlier suspected or confirmed cases and died from his infection. The Ha'il patient is a 67-year-old Saudi man who is hospitalized in critical condition, and the MOH said he is a contact of an earlier suspected or confirmed MERS case.

All of Saudi Arabia's new cases involve adults, ranging in age from 24 to 80 years old. Eight are men, and three are women. Six are in stable condition and four are listed as critical. Aside from the two healthcare workers, all are Saudi nationals.

Fifty-three people are still being treated for their MERS-CoV infections, and 11 more are in home isolation, according to the MOH. Saudi officials said five more people have recovered from their illnesses, raising the overall total since the virus was first detected in 2012 to 611.

Of the seven new deaths reported, all involved adults over 50 who had underlying medical conditions.

The new cases boost Saudi Arabia's total from the virus to 1,184, including 509 deaths.

Reports hint at Jordan hospital cluster

Yesterday, Avian Flu Diary (AFD), an infectious disease news blog, and FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board, flagged separate media reports from Jordan that said a 56-year-old citizen, apparently a man, was diagnosed as having MERS and had recently undergone open-heart surgery. Reports also said the patient had other underlying health conditions.

The reports didn't specifically say the patient was infected in the hospital, but noted the hospital had followed infection control protocols.

A report in English from Petra, Jordan's news agency, cited the health ministry's director of infectious diseases in confirming the new case. The health official said a team is supervising the hospital's infectious disease measures and is following up on possible contacts among the patient's family and the medical staff.

Today, AFD picked up a report in Arabic from Qatar News Agency that describes a second new MERS case in Jordan, which would raise the country's total to six in the past week. A machine translation of the report, quoting the same Jordanian health official, suggests that the patient is a 74-year-old woman who has several underlying health conditions.

The report also said Jordan's overall MERS-CoV total is now at 18 cases.

Jordan reported its first case in the cluster on Aug 25, involving a man in his 60s who had recently traveled from Saudi Arabia. A few days ago Arabic news outlets reported that the man died from his infection. The country's other recent cases involve a 38-year-old man who had recently traveled from an unspecified country, and two men ages 48 and 78 who had contact with a MERS-CoV–infected person at a hospital.

See also:

Aug 29 Saudi MOH statement

Aug 30 Saudi MOH statement

Aug 31 Saudi MOH statement

Aug 30 AFD post on Jordan's fifth patient

Aug 30 FluTrackers thread

Aug 31 AFD post on Jordan's six patient

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