New MERS case reported in Saudi Arabia
The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) reported a new case of MERS-CoV over the weekend.
A 77-year-old Saudi woman from Buraydah is presumed dead after being diagnosed as having MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus). There is some confusion about her case, as on Nov 18 the MOH listed the woman in critical condition and also said a 77-year-old woman from the same city was deceased, but both statements appear to apply to the same woman.
The woman's source of infection was listed as "primary," meaning it's unlikely she contracted the disease from another person. The MOH also reported another death, in a 75-year-old woman from Unayzah. Both women had preexisting illness before the contracted MERS.
The latest report raises Saudi Arabia's total number of MERS-CoV illnesses since the virus was detected for the first time in humans in 2012 to 1,746, which includes 707 deaths. Six people are still being treated for their infections.
Nov 18 MOH report
Single case of local Zika reported in Miami, Florida's 2nd this year
The Florida Department of Public Health (Florida Health) announced a single case of locally transmitted Zika virus late on Nov 17, the state's second this year. Officials said there is no sign of ongoing transmission at this point.
The case was identified in Miami-Dade County, which saw hundreds of cases of locally transmitted Zika in the summer of 2016. The patient had no recent travel history to a Zika-affected area, and he or she had no partner with such travel history, leaving officials to deduce the disease was spread by a bite from a local mosquito.
So far in 2017 there have been 217 cases of Zika virus in Florida, including 2 that were locally acquired.
"The department urges Floridians to take action around their home and business to reduce the mosquito population. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one teaspoon of water so it is critical to drain all sources of standing water to keep mosquitoes from multiplying," Florida Health said in a news release. "Residents and visitors should also use mosquito repellent day and night to prevent mosquito bites."
Nov 17 Florida Health news release
Madagascar's plague outbreak shows more signs of slowing
In the latest update on Madagascar's plague outbreak today, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa said that from Nov 6 to Nov 17, officials have confirmed 1 more plague case and reported 215 new probable or suspected cases, raising the total to 2,267 cases, 195 of them fatal.
Though plague is endemic in Madagascar, with a season that usually runs from September to April, the country has seen an early start of the season with an unusual spike in the potentially fatal pneumonic form of the disease, which accounts for 76% of the outbreak total. The last confirmed pneumonic case was reported on Nov 14 and the onset of the last bubonic case was Nov 7.
The WHO said cases have steadily declined since the middle of October. It added that it expects more cases to be reported throughout the rest of the plague season and that maintaining response operations, such as active case findings and contact tracing, will be critical in driving down the risk of the disease in the months ahead.
Nov 20 WHO plague update