MERS sickens six more in Riyadh outbreak

The total in a MERS-CoV outbreak in Riyadh grew by six today—including a 109-year-old man—as the hospital linked to many of the cases announced new steps to curb the outbreak.

Newly announced Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) confirmations from Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) boost the number of cases reported since Jul 21 in Riyadh to 81.

New case details

In its daily update today, the Saudi MOH said five of the six patients had contact with a suspected or confirmed case in the community or hospital, suggesting that they could be part of an outbreak at Riyadh's King Abdulaziz Medical City.

The 109-year-old man is hospitalized in stable condition, as are the other five patients.

One of the new confirmed cases is a 40-year-old woman who is healthcare worker from outside of Saudi Arabia.

Others include three men, ages 87, 72, and 71 years old, and a 58-year-old woman who apparently didn't have contact with an earlier case.

In addition to the new cases, the MOH reported one death in a previously announced case-patient from Riyadh, an 86-year-old man who had underlying health conditions.

The MOH said 52 people are still being treated for their infections, and 4 more are in home isolation.

Today's additional cases lift Saudi Arabia's overall total from the disease, first detected in 2012, to 1,134, which includes 486 deaths. So far 592 people have recovered from their infections.

Hospital response update

King Abdulaziz Medical City said today in Twitter posts that it had postponed most outpatient appointments scheduled for Aug 23 and Aug 24 to curb spread of the virus. The only exceptions are for chemotherapy, obstetrics, and valve replacement clinics.

A specialty children's hospital that is part of the medical city will continue with business as usual, with no cancelled clinics or admissions.

It said the Saudi MOH will continue to publish the number of positive MERS-CoV cases.

Earlier this week the hospital announced that since June, 31 illnesses had been linked to visits to its emergency department, a pattern seen in a recent MERS-CoV outbreak in South Korea. It also said several more illnesses were suspected.

Global health officials are discussing the possibility of a joint World Health Organization mission to help the country investigate the outbreak.

See also:

Aug 21 Saudi MOH statement

National Guard Hospital Twitter feed

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