Saudi Arabia reports 5 new MERS cases

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed five new MERS-CoV cases today and over the weekend, including a fatal one, as the World Health Organization (WHO) provided details on six previously reported cases.

Latest cases

Three of the new MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) cases were reported today, with one each yesterday and the day before. Two of the new cases, both in Riyadh, involve household contact with a previous MERS case-patient, while the other three involve contact with camels.

The Riyadh cases involve a pair of 30-year-old foreign men. The one reported today is in stable condition, while the one reported yesterday is hospitalized in critical condition, the MOH said.

The agency noted two other cases today, both in Riyadh province and both involving older Saudi men with recent camel contact. One case involves a 72-year-old man in Al Artawiyah, which is about 150 miles north-northwest of Riyadh. The other patient, age 68, is from Shaqra, about 100 miles west-northwest of Riyadh. Both are listed in stable condition.

The MOH also confirmed a fatal MERS-CoV infection in a 50-year-old man in Muhayil in the southwestern part of the country. He had direct contact with camels.

The five MERS cases bring the total in the country since 2012 to 1,309, including 555 deaths.

WHO on 6 previous cases

The WHO, meanwhile, posted an update today on six recent Saudi cases in men, three in Al-Kharj. Saudi officials reported them to the WHO from Feb 1 to Feb 16.

Three of the new cases proved fatal. The deaths were in 75- and 80-year-olds in Al-Kharj and a 34-year-old in Najran. The eldest developed symptoms on Feb 6, was hospitalized on Feb 13, and died on Feb 16. The other Al-Kharj man fell ill on Feb 8, entered the hospital on Feb 10, and died on Feb 12. The man from Najran first had symptoms on Feb 1, was admitted to the hospital on Feb 10, and died on Feb 11.

All three had preexisting disease, and the 75-year-old had a history of frequent contact with camels and consuming raw camel milk. The other two reported no notable exposure history.

The other cases involve a 41-year-old in Al-Kharj, a 78-year-old in Taif, and a 43-year-old in Riyadh. All three are in stable condition, with the first two in negative-pressure isolation rooms and the third in home isolation. The 78-year-old has comorbidities, the WHO said.

The 41-year-old, who developed symptoms on Feb 3, had had contact with the 43-year-old, who first became ill on Jan 21. The 43-year-old is the only foreigner listed among the six men.

Globally, since September 2012, the WHO has been notified of 1,644 lab-confirmed MERS cases, the agency said, including at least 590 deaths.

See also:

Feb 27 MOH update

Feb 28 MOH update

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