Saudi Arabia reported two more MERS-CoV cases today, both of which may be linked to an ongoing outbreak in Buraydah and, if definitively connected to that outbreak, would raise the total to 30 since Mar 3.
Also today the World Health Organization (WHO) reported more details on four MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) cases, one of them fatal, reported by Saudi Arabia on Mar 15 and 16.
Latest Saudi cases
The two new patients are a 57-year-old Saudi man from Buraydah who is hospitalized in critical condition and an 84-year-old woman from Ar Rass, located about 50 miles southwest of Buraydah, who is in stable condition, according to a statement today from the Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH).
Neither patient is a health worker, the agency said. Exposure sources for both cases are still under investigation.
The MOH also noted that two previously reported patients have recovered from the disease, a 72-year-old Saudi man in Riyadh and a 47-year-old Saudi man in Taif. The older patient had preexisting disease. Neither is a healthcare worker.
So far Saudi Arabia has reported 1,355 MERS cases, 577 of them fatal. Seventeen people are still being treated for their infections.
WHO details 4 cases, 1 fatal
Meanwhile, the WHO's statement today covers two earlier announced cases from Buraydah as well as illnesses recently reported in Riyadh and Al-Kharj.
One of the Buraydah cases involves a 54-year-old foreign man who regularly visited the outbreak hospital for an unrelated medical condition. He got sick on Mar 4 and was admitted to the outbreak hospital on Mar 9, where he is in critical condition.
The other is an 84-year-old man with underlying conditions from the city who started having symptoms on Mar 2 and was admitted to the hospital on Mar 9, where he died on Mar 14. An investigation into exposure sources for both cases is under way.
The patient from Riyadh is a 45-year-old man with underlying health conditions whose symptoms started on Feb 29 and tested positive for the virus at the hospital on Mar 14, where he is listed in stable condition. Officials are still investigating how he was exposed to MERS-CoV
The person from Al-Kharj is a 78-year-old woman with a chronic health condition who became ill on Mar 10 and was hospitalized on Mar 13, where she is in stable condition. The WHO said she has a history of frequently drinking raw camel milk.
Also, the WHO said Saudi officials notified it of three more deaths in earlier reported patients. The new cases and deaths lift the WHO's global total to 1,698 cases, at least 609 of them fatal.
Mar 23 Saudi MOH statement
Mar 23 WHO statement on Saudi MERS-CoV cases
Mar 22 CIDRAP News scan "Saudi Arabia reports 2 MERS cases in Buraydah, 1 fatal"