MERS infects 7 more in Saudi Arabia, some part of hospital cluster

The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) reported seven new cases of MERS-CoV today, including five connected to a cluster in Dumah Al Jandal, most apparently linked to a hospital setting.

Three of the new cases are healthcare workers, all expats who have asymptomatic infections and are in stable condition. They include a 49-year-old man and two women, ages 27 and 26.

The other two new cases connected to the Dumah Al Jandal cluster are Saudi men. A 21-year-old is in critical condition after being diagnosed with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The MOH said he was a household contact of another MERS-CoV patient. A 70-year-old is also in critical condition, and the MOH said he acquired his infection as a patient in the hospital.

At least 9 cases in Dumah Al Jandal

In the last several days, there have been nine MERS-CoV infections announced from Dumah Al Jandal, including a primary case, four among health workers, one in a hospital patient, and three involving household contacts. The city is located in northwestern Saudi Arabia.

Hospital-based infections are a hallmark of MERS-CoV outbreaks, with healthcare workers and fellow patients often exposed to index patients before they are isolated for treatment. Yesterday, the World Health Organization said three Riyadh hospital-based outbreaks, first described earlier this summer, were officially over.

New cases from other cities

The MOH reported two additional cases today. One is a 58-year-old expatriate man from Khamis Mushait who was symptomatic and is in critical condition, and the other is a 55-year-old Saudi man from the city of Al Ula in Medina province was also symptomatic and in stable condition.  Both men's illnesses were described as primary, meaning it's unlikely they contracted the virus from another person.

The new cases raise Saudi Arabia's overall MERS-CoV total to 1,693 cases, 686 of them fatal. Thirteen people are still being treated for their infections.

See also:

Aug 8 MOH report

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