With the start of the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia just a week away, Saudi Arabia and neighboring Jordan each reported three new MERS-CoV cases today, including two in Riyadh.
Also, the World Health Organization (WHO) filled in new details about 25 Saudi MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) cases reported in the first 5 days of September, 10 of them linked to an ongoing hospital outbreak in Riyadh.
Cases in 2 Saudi cities
Besides the pair of cases in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) also reported an infection in Medina, the second from what is known as the country's second holiest city this week. The patient is a 33-year-old foreign healthcare worker who had contact with a confirmed or suspected case in the community or hospital. He is hospitalized in critical condition.
The earlier case from Medina, reported on Sep 7, involved an 80-year-old Saudi woman who also had contact with an earlier suspected or confirmed case. Medina is about 340 miles west of Riyadh.
Meanwhile, the two patients in Riyadh are both Saudi men, a 33-year-old who is hospitalized in stable condition and a 45-year-old who is listed as critical. It's not known if the infections are related to the hospital outbreak, but the MOH said the younger of the two men had contact with a suspected or confirmed case.
The scope of the hospital outbreak centered at King Abdulaziz Medical City isn't clear, but Riyadh has reported 161 cases since Jul 21, and WHO updates have acknowledged that at least 87 Riyadh MERS cases are linked to a hospital outbreak.
As of today, 59 people are still being treated for MERS-CoV infections, and another 13 are in home isolation. Two additional people have recovered, according to today's report.
The latest developments boost Saudi Arabia's total from the disease to 1,228 cases, 521 of them fatal. So far 635 patients have recovered.
Jordan cluster rises to 11
A cluster of hospital-linked MERS-CoV illnesses has emerged in Amman over the past weeks, with three more cases reported today, according to a report in Arabic from Jordan's state news agency that translated by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board.
Citing a health ministry source, the news report said the three latest patients had contact with earlier-announced cases and were identified during active case finding and contact monitoring. The ministry said the country has now recorded 11 MERS cases this year.
The index patient in the cluster is a 60-year-old man who got sick at the end of July after traveling from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to Amman. He sought treatment at two different hospitals before his infection was detected.
As of Sep 6, the WHO has acknowledged that six recent cases from Jordan are part of a hospital-linked outbreak in Amman.
WHO on 25 recent Saudi cases
Of the 25 MERS-CoV cases reported to the WHO by Saudi Arabia between Sep 1 and Sep 5, 18 have connections to Riyadh, with 10 of them linked to the hospital outbreak. The other 7 cases include 3 in Najran, 2 in Alnmas, and 2 in Al-Kharj.
Exposures to known risk factors aren't known for the two people from Al-Kharj, but those from the Alnmas appear to be related to the Riyadh hospital outbreak. The 60-year-old woman and 65-year-old man had contact with an earlier-confirmed MERS patient, a 77-year-old woman who apparently got sick at a Riyadh hospital where she had undergone a procedure related to a chronic medical condition.
Meanwhile, the three patients in Najran, a 46-year-old man, a 32-year-old pregnant woman, and a 50-year-old woman, had contact with a 54-year-old man who was hospitalized in the city for MERS-CoV and died from his infection.
Among the 10 Riyadh cases, 7 are healthcare workers, and exposures haven't been determined for 4 of them. Of the other hospital-linked cases, 3 patients had frequently visited the outbreak hospital for treatment of chronic health conditions, 3 came down with symptoms while admitted for other conditions, and 1 became ill after hospitalization.
Except for a 16-year-old boy who had a chronic health condition, all of the patients are adults, ranging in age from 24 to 76. Fifteen are male and 10 are female. Eighteen are in stable condition, 6 are reported as critical, and the condition isn't known for 1. Illness onsets range from Aug 24 to Sep 3.
The WHO also said Saudi Arabia had reported five deaths in earlier cases.
It put the latest global total from MERS-CoV at 1,542 cases, with at least 544 deaths.
Sep 10 Saudi MOH update
Sep 10 FluTrackers thread
Sep 9 WHO update