Saudi Arabia has reported four new MERS-CoV cases over the past few days, three of them involving contact with camels, a pattern responsible for a small but steady stream of recent infections in the country.
The four new MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) cases are detailed in four separate updates from the Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH), covering a span from Oct 26 to today. The cases were reported in different parts of Saudi Arabia, though two are from the same city.
Three men, one woman infected
One of the illnesses involves a 56-year-old Saudi man from Tabuk, the capital of Tabuk region in the country's northwest, according to an Oct 26 update. The man is hospitalized and is listed as being in critical condition. An investigation found that the patient had direct contact with camels before he became ill.
The following day, the MOH reported another illness, this time involving a 36-year-old Saudi man from Hofuf in eastern Saudi Arabia. He is in stable condition, and authorities said he had primary exposure to MER-CoV, meaning they don't think he contracted it from another sick person.
In statements today and yesterday, the MOH reported two cases from Taif, a city in southwestern Saudi Arabia. So far it's not known if the illnesses are connected. One of the patients is a 59-year-old Saudi man who is in critical condition following direct camel contact. The other is a 76-year-old Saudi woman who listed in stable condition after indirect contact with camels.
The newly reported cases lift Saudi Arabia's overall total since the virus was first detected in humans in 2012 to 1,736 cases, 702 of them fatal. Seven people are still being treated for their infections.
Oct 26 Saudi MOH statement
Oct 27 Saudi MOH statement
Oct 29 Saudi MOH statement
Oct 30 Saudi MOH statement