One new Saudi MERS illness as WHO details previous cases

Saudi Arabia reported one new MERS-CoV case today—in Jeddah, away from the Riyadh cluster that has garnered headlines—as the World Health Organization (WHO) provided new details on 22 previously reported Saudi cases and 5 in Jordan.

The 22 Saudi cases include 8 in healthcare workers (HCWs). The Jordan cluster includes two young girls, the WHO confirmed, a detail that had not previously been reported.

Jeddah case

The case in Jeddah involves a 72-year-old Saudi woman who is not an HCW. She is listed in critical condition, and her exposure to other MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) cases is under investigation, according to an update from the country's Ministry of Health (MOH).

Saudi Arabia has now reported at least one case every day since Aug 2—almost 7 full weeks.

The MOH also confirmed that two patients in Riyadh have recovered from the disease, a 29-year-old foreign female HCW and a 67-year-old Saudi man. The man had pre-existing disease.

So far 168 cases have been reported in Riyadh since Jul 21, a large portion of them associated with a hospital outbreak.

In a disappointing development, the MOH today changed the way it reports data and no longer includes numbers for cumulate deaths, recoveries, the number being treated, and those in home isolation. The agency replaced them with percentages of the total cases. MERS cases in the country since 2012 have now reached 1,243, and deaths remain the same as reported yesterday: 528.

WHO on 22 Saudi cases

Of the 22 Saudi patients detailed by the WHO yesterday, 14 are in Riyadh, 5 in Medina, 1 in Dawadmi, 1 in Al-Kharj, and 1 Shaqra. The Saudi MOH reported the cases to the WHO from Sep 6 to Sep 11.

Of the 8 HCWs among the 22, 5 are from Riyadh and 3 from Medina. Two of them (one from each city) had confirmed contact with a MERS patient, while the other six worked in an outbreak hospital.

Nine of the patients are listed in critical condition, with the rest in stable condition. None have died from their infections. Fourteen are men, and seven are from a foreign country.

Patients range in age from 23 to 85, with a median age of 43.

In addition to the exposures in the HCWs, three non-HCWs were confirmed to have had contact with other MERS patients. Two patients reported recent contact with camels and one of them consumed raw camel milk; both are likely risk factors.

Jordanian cluster includes 2 girls

The WHO today provided new details on 5 MERS-CoV cases in Amman that are part of a cluster of at least 11 patients, according to recent health ministry reports. Jordanian authorities reported the cases—2 of which proved fatal—to the WHO from Sep 7 to Sep 10.

The patients are a 10-month-old girl, a 7-year-old girl, a 53-year-old man, a 65-year-old woman, and a 78-year-old man. None are HCWs.

The younger girl is in stable condition in a negative-pressure room, while the 7-year-old is still asymptomatic. Both are contacts of the 53-year-old man, a heavy smoker who died on Sep 7. His previous MERS-CoV contacts are under investigation.

The 65-year-old woman tested positive on Sep 10 and is in stable condition. She had contact with a patient whose case was detailed by the WHO on Sep 1.

The 78-year-old man was hospitalized on Sep 1 and died on Sep 4. He had frequently visited the same hospital, which has been experiencing a MERS outbreak, before he developed MERS-like symptoms. Specifics of his previous exposure are being pursued.

See also:

Sep 18 Saudi MOH statement

Sep 17 WHO statement on Saudi cases

Sep 18 WHO statement on Jordan cases

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