A recent surge of MERS-CoV cases in Saudi Arabia continued today, with 8 news cases reported by the country's Ministry of Health (MOH), bringing the total in the past 3 days to 20. One of the cases proved fatal, and at least four of them involve exposure in a healthcare facility.
The cases of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) are in three cities: Riyadh (3); Khobar (3), on the Persian Gulf; and Badaya (2), in the central region of Qassim, about 220 miles northwest of Riyadh.
One of the Badaya cases involves the only healthcare worker infected, a 46-year-old man who is also the only expatriate among the group, the MOH said in an update. The other Badaya patient is a 54-year-old Saudi man. Both are listed in stable condition. Their potential contact with MERS patients in a healthcare setting is under investigation.
All three patients in Khobar had contact with MERS-CoV patients in a hospital or clinic. They are two women, 70 and 83 years old, and a 77-year-old man, all in critical condition.
The patient who died—a 79-year-old man—was from Riyadh. The other two, a 24-year-old man and 49-year-old woman, are in stable condition. The 24-year-old had recent exposure to MERS-CoV in a healthcare setting, the MOH said.
All of the eight case-patients had preexisting disease, none had recent exposure to animals, and none had contact with MERS cases in the community, the update said.
Also today, the MOH noted the death of a previously reported 79-year-old Saudi man in Riyadh, as well as recovery from the disease in a 76-year-old Saudi man in Hofuf. Cases in the country are now at 877, including 370 deaths and 482 recoveries. Twenty-five patients remain under care.
Since Feb 1 Saudi Arabia has confirmed 32 MERS-CoV cases.
More details in Filipino case
In other MERS news, the World Health Organization (WHO) offered more details today on the MERS-CoV case in a Filipino nurse who recently fell ill in Saudi Arabia. Her case was reported by the media on Feb 11.
The nurse got sick on Jan 26 while working at a Riyadh hospital, the WHO said in a statement. Her case was managed there as a hypersensivity reaction.
On Feb 1 she flew to Manila, and she was hospitalized there the next day and diagnosed as having acute bronchitis. After MERS-CoV was confirmed on Feb 10, she was transferred to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, where she is afebrile and stable, the WHO said.
In addition, a WHO official said 11 of the nurse's household and hospital contacts have symptoms, according to an Arab News report today. The symptoms were not described.
Feb 13 MOH update
Related Feb 12 CIDRAP News story
Feb 13 WHO statement
Feb 13 Arab News story