News Scan for Dec 16, 2014

News brief

Saudi Arabia reports 2 new MERS cases, 3 deaths

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported two new MERS-CoV cases today, bringing the country's total to 821 cases.

The first case-patient is a 29-year-old expatriate woman living in Taif. She is a healthcare worker and had contact with MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) in a clinical setting. She had no other risk factors, such as animal exposure or contact with MERS patients in community settings. The woman does not have an underlying medical condition and is hospitalized in stable condition.

The second case-patient is a70-year-old expatriate man living in Jubail and currently hospitalized in critical condition. He had exposure to animals but no contact with MERS patients in clinical or community settings. He has an underlying medical condition and is not a healthcare worker

On Dec 14, the MOH also reported three deaths in previously reported MERS patients. The first death occurred in a 22-year-old expatriate man living in Taif; he was not a healthcare worker and had no preexisting disease. The second death involved a 61-year-old Saudi man from Najran who was not a healthcare worker and had an underlying medical condition. The third victim was a 60-year-old Saudi man from Taif; he was not a healthcare worker and had preexisting disease.

The MOH reported the recovery of two previously confirmed MERS patients last week. The first was a 69-year-old Saudi man from Riyadh whose recovery was reported Dec 9. He was not a healthcare worker and had an underlying medical condition. On Dec 12, the MOH reported the recovery of a 40-year-old male expatriate living in Taif. He was not a healthcare worker and had no preexisting disease.

Five Saudi MERS cases remain active, 461 people have recovered, and 355 people have died.
Dec 16 MOH update
Dec 14 MOH update
Dec 12 MOH update
Dec 9 MOH update


Brazil reports its first human case of West Nile disease

A case of West Nile virus (WNV) has been confirmed in Brazil, the country's first, according to an alert from the World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday.

The case-patient, who is from the northeastern state of Piaui, began having symptoms in August. He or she was hospitalized in the town of Teresina at an unspecified time during the illness but has been discharged and will receive physical therapy and rehabilitation, says the report.

The case was laboratory confirmed as WNV on Nov 28 and reported to the WHO by Brazil's ministry of health Dec 9. WNV was ruled out in four other symptomatic people as well as 18 others who were tested, the report says.
Dec 15 WHO alert


Officials raise estimate of flu-related deaths in European seals

About 3,000 seals off the coast of Sweden and Denmark are thought to have been killed by avian influenza this year, probably by an H10N7 virus, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) story today.

That number is substantially higher than the 700 estimated deaths in the area mentioned by researchers earlier in the fall, says the story. (CIDRAP News reported in November on an article estimating the number at 425.)

Determining a number with any accuracy is difficult because dead animals have likely sunk. "We still don't have the full picture of how many seals are affected or exactly how the infection has spread," the story quotes a biologist at the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management as saying.

Most seals in the area are thought by the agency to have been infected by avian flu and to have developed antibodies.

Other northern European countries including Norway and the Netherlands have also experienced seal die-offs from avian flu recently, and Germany has seen hundreds of seal deaths off the North Sea coast, according to media reports.
Dec 16 AFP story
Related Nov 20 CIDRAP News
Oct 27 Deutsche Welle
story on German outbreak


Iranian report suggests possible MERS-CoV in imported camels

Eight camels that were illegally imported into Iran from Pakistan were infected with a coronavirus "potentially related" to MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus), Iranian authorities reported recently.

The eight camels were among 186 camels that were tested at two border stations, the head of the Iran Veterinary Organization told the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in a report submitted Dec 13.

Iran's Central Veterinary Laboratory tested nasal and mouth swabs from the camels, the report said. None of the animals died.

Iranian authorities told the OIE of similar findings In October: a coronavirus "related to MERS coronavirus" in 3 of 18 camels that had been illegally imported from Pakistan.

Camels in several Middle Eastern and African countries have been found infected with MERS-CoV, and they are regarded as a probable source of human infections. It appears that there have been no previous reports of MERS-CoV-infected camels in Iran.

Iran had its first five human cases of MERS in a cluster from May to July of this year.
Dec 13 OIE report
Oct 29
OIE report


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