Saudi Arabia reports more MERS cases; WHO announces Buraydah outbreak over

The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) reported three new MERS-CoV cases over the weekend and two deaths, while the World Health Organization (WHO) released details on 17 cases of MERS, noting that a small healthcare-associated outbreak in Buraydah was officially over.

New cases connected to camels

On Saturday, the MOH said an 80-year-old Saudi man from Al Asyah was diagnosed as having MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) illness. He is in stable condition after presenting with symptoms of the virus. The MOH said that the man had direct contact with camels.

Today another patient, a 71-year-old Saudi man from Al Makhwah, was also diagnosed with MERS-CoV after having direct contact with camels. He is currently in critical condition. Also today, a 53-year-old Saudi man from Khaybar was listed in critical condition. The source of his infection is listed as primary, meaning he did not contract the disease from another person.

On Friday, the MOH reported the passing of two previously reported MERS-CoV patients: A 59-year-old Saudi man from Turubah and a 60-year-old expatriate man from Mecca.

The newly reported cases lift the country's MERS total to 1,557 cases, including 648 deaths. Eight patients are still being treated for the disease.

Camel exposure linked to January deaths

Late last Friday the WHO released details on 17 cases of MERS reported between Jan 10 and Feb 3 in Saudi Arabia. Four of the patients died.

Nine of the 17 cases reported were linked to camel exposure, a known risk factor for contracting the disease. Camels are reservoirs for the virus, and direct and indirect contact with camels, including drinking raw camel milk, has been implicated in hundreds of the Saudi cases reported since 2012. All but two of the nine cases reported consuming raw camel milk in the weeks prior to infection.

A 74-year-old woman from Taif who reported direct exposure with camels died, as did a 58-year-old man from the same city who also reported camel exposure. A 48-year-old man from Jeddah died. He reportedly drank camel milk. The fourth death was in a 67-year-old woman from Buraydah. She had no known risk factors for contracting MERS-CoV.

One case detailed in the WHO's report is a healthcare worker, and represents the last case associated with a healthcare outbreak in the city of Buraydah. A total of six cases were linked to that outbreak, and according to the WHO, contacts have been followed for the 14-day incubation period and no further cases have been identified.

The cities of Taif and Jeddah reported three cases each. Twelve of the cases were reported in male patients.

Since September 2012, the WHO has reported 1,905 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including at least 677 related deaths.

See also:

Feb 10 MOH update

Feb 11 MOH update

Feb 13 MOH update

Feb 10 WHO report

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