Saudi Arabia reports more MERS in Wadi ad-Dawasir outbreak

Saudi Arabia's health ministry today reported seven more MERS-CoV cases, all of them linked to what appears to be a hospital-related outbreak in Wadi ad-Dawasir.

The country has reported a steady rise in Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases since the first of the year, with 40 reported so far. Of those, 22 cases are from Wadi ad-Dawasir, located in the south-central part of Saudi Arabia. Though many of had secondary healthcare or household exposure, two from the city had recent camel contact.

WHO monitoring outbreak developments

Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, the technical lead for MERS-CoV at the World Health Organization (WHO), said the agency is following the hospital outbreak closely.

She said the transmission patterns are not unusual and that amplification in health settings occurs when cases aren't identified and isolated early and when infection prevention and control steps aren't administered properly.

The keys to controlling MERS-CoV outbreaks and curbing human-to-human transmission include early identification and management of cases, thorough identification and follow-up of contacts, administering strict infection prevention and control protocols, and fostering good communication.

Latest case details note more patients in home isolation

Of the seven illnesses announced from Wadi al-Dawasir today, two are hospitalized for their infections, including two men ages 27 and 84.

Five others are listed in home isolation, which likely reflects asymptomatic infections. The patients include a 55-year-old woman and four men ages 25, 31, 41, and 50.

Yesterday the ministry reported six more cases, including three from Wadi ad-Dawasir, two of them with healthcare exposure and one a household contact. The other patients included a 35-year-old man from Buraidah listed as a household contact, a 66-year-old man from Riyadh who isn't thought to have contracted the virus from another person, and a 78-year-old man from Al Gurayat who had contact with camels.

See also:

Saudi MOH epi week 6 report

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