Officials report 1 new MERS case, 1 death in Saudi Arabia
The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) reported one new case of MERS today and the death of a previously reported patient.
A 59-year-old Saudi woman is in critical condition after presenting with symptoms of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) infection. The woman is from Riyadh, and is listed as having primary exposure to the virus, meaning she did not contract the disease from another person.
The MOH also reported the death of a 67-year-old woman from Buraydah. She is the fourth patient from the city to die from MERS complications since Jan 2.
The new cases raise Saudi Arabia's MERS-CoV total to 1,536, including 640 deaths. Nine people are still in treatment or monitoring.
Jan 11 Saudi MOH report
First baby born with congenital Ebola survives infection
A new study published today in The Journal of Infectious Diseases details how doctors working for Doctors Without Borders saved the life of a baby born with congenital Ebola virus. The baby was born in Guinea and had no symptoms of Ebola virus 20 days after her birth.
The baby was diagnosed immediately after birth, and doctors treated her with a novel combination of three treatments: monoclonal antibodies (ZMapp), a buffy coat transfusion from an Ebola survivor, and a broad-spectrum antiviral.
Five days before her birth, that baby's mother was diagnosed with Ebola and treated with favipiravir, an antiviral. The infant was born at 35-36 weeks gestation and appeared healthy, but suffered intermittent fevers through day 10. ZMapp was infused on days 2, 5, and 8 and the baby had reduced viral loads. On day 11 the baby got a buffy coat transfusion to boost her immune response to ZMapp. On Day 19, the broad-spectrum antiviral GS-5734 was administered (the first time it was used in a pediatric patient). By day 20 blood tests were negative for Ebola, and the baby went home on day 33.
Pregnant woman and neonates suffered the highest mortality rates during the 2013-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, with 70% of pregnant women perishing from the disease and nearly 100% of Ebola-affected pregnancies ending in miscarriage of stillbirth.
The authors concluded their report by suggesting a variety of factors may have helped saved the baby's life. "Viral transmission might have occurred late in the pregnancy and been limited during the brief labor and delivery, resulting in the neonate having a low viral load at birth. It cannot be excluded that the favipiravir given to the mother had an effect on the viral replication in the fetus," they write.
Jan 11 J Infect Dis study
Jan 11 J Infect Dis commentary