Oman reports MERS case as WHO details 4 in Saudi Arabia

Oman's health ministry today reported a MERS-CoV case, the country's seventh, according to a report from the Times of Oman, while the World Health Organization (WHO) details four recent cases in Saudi Arabia.

Few details were available about the Omani case, other than that the patient has pneumonia and a high fever and is hospitalized in stable condition.

A translation of a health ministry announcement posted today by Avian Flu Diary, an infectious disease news blog, said the patient is a man in his forties. The most recent previous case in Oman was confirmed in late May, while another was reported in January.

WHO details Saudi cases

In other Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) developments, the WHO released details about four earlier announced cases from Saudi Arabia, including possible exposures. The cases—two of which proved fatal—were originally reported by the country's Ministry of Health (MOH) between Nov 29 and Dec 17.

The exposures reflect a pattern seen in other Saudi cases, with one having exposure to camels, one a healthcare worker who was exposed in the medical setting, and two involving unknown sources of infection.

The patient who had been exposed to camels is a 48-year-old man from Najran who got sick on Dec 10, was hospitalized on Dec 15, and died Dec 18. He had frequent contact with the animals and drank raw camel milk.

Two of the patients were from Buraidah, including a 35-year-old woman with underlying conditions who got sick on Nov 22, was hospitalized on Nov 27, and died on Dec 5.  No details were noted on the source of her illness.

The other was a 41-year-old foreign woman who started having symptoms on Dec 13 after she had contact with the younger woman. A Dec 16 statement from Saudi health officials said she was a healthcare worker. She is hospitalized in stable condition.

The fourth patient is a 21-year-old woman from Riyadh who got sick on Nov 25 and was hospitalized on Nov 30. She remains hospitalized in critical condition, and an investigation into the source of her infection is still under way.

Since the MOH reported these cases to the WHO, it has confirmed two more cases, one in Jeddah and one in Unizah, both involving primary exposure.

The WHO said that since MERS-CoV first emerged in September 2012, it has been notified of 1,625 cases, at least of 586 of them fatal.

See also:

Jan 4 Times of Oman story

Jan 4 Avian Flu Diary post

Jan 4 WHO statement

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