Saudi Arabia reports MERS deaths; WHO posts case details


At least 2 of the cases reported by the WHO involved contact with camels., Oleg Seleznev / iStock

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported a total of two MERS-CoV deaths today and yesterday and closed a dialysis center in Riyadh due to infection control concerns.

The World Health Organization (WHO), meanwhile, posted additional details on recent MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) cases in Saudi Arabia and Oman.

The MOH reported the death today of a 45-year-old Saudi man from Dammam who was not a healthcare worker and had no preexisting disease. Yesterday, the MOH noted the death of a 93-year-old Saudi man from Riyadh who was not a healthcare worker and had an underlying medical condition.

Six Saudi MERS-CoV cases are still active, 469 people have recovered, and 360 people have died, the MOH noted in today's update. The country's MERS case total is 835.

WHO notes Saudi, Omani cases

The WHO posted details yesterday on three recently reported MERS cases in Saudi Arabia and today on two cases in Oman.

The Saudi patients had illness onsets between Jan 3 and Jan 5. The first case appears to involve the 45-year-old man from Dammam whose death was reported today by the MOH. The WHO said the man had no underlying medical condition and no contact with MERS patients, but that he often visited a friend's camel farm.

The second Saudi case-patient reported by the WHO is a 76-year-old man from Taif who had direct contact with camels and consumed raw camel milk. The man has no preexisting disease and had no contact with MERS-CoV cases. He is hospitalized in critical condition.

The third case-patient is a 69-year-old man from Najran with an underlying medical condition. He lives near camels but had no direct contact with them and had no contact with MERS cases. He traveled to Yemen in the 2 weeks before his symptoms began, and he is hospitalized in stable condition.

The Omani MERS-CoV cases detailed by the WHO occurred in two household contacts who were reported to the WHO between Jan 7 and 10. A 32-year-old man from the Dakhiliyah region of Oman died in intensive care on Jan 7. He had no exposure to MERS cases but worked as a farmer and had direct contact with camels, goats, and sheep.

A 31-year-old woman who lived with him is hospitalized in stable condition with MERS-CoV. She has no preexisting disease and lived near the man's livestock but had no direct animal contact.

The WHO has received laboratory confirmation of 950 global MERS-CoV cases and 350 deaths.

Dialysis center closure

In related news, the Saudi MOH announced yesterday that it is closing a dialysis center in Riyadh because of noncompliance with MERS-related infection control measures. The MOH's Command and Control Center (CCC) gave the private dialysis clinic measures to implement before it is reevaluated by the Riyadh Health Affairs Directorate.

The center's closure is due partly to more stringent infection control measures enforced after six Saudi MERS-CoV cases in Taif were linked to a dialysis center in late October, according to a post on Avian Flu Diary yesterday.

MERS-CoV cases in Saudi Arabia are expected to follow previous years' patterns and increase in the next several months, the MOH said.

See also:

Jan 16 MOH update

Jan 15 MOH update

Jan 16 WHO report on MERS in Oman

Jan 15 WHO report on MERS in Saudi Arabia

Jan 15 MOH report on dialysis center closure

Jan 15 Avian Flu Diary post on dialysis center closure

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