Saudi MERS pace quickens with 12 cases in 3 days

MERS virus
MERS virus

The crownlike appearance of MERS-CoV (highly magnified)., CDC

After a slow April, the pace of MERS-CoV cases in Saudi Arabia has picked up in the past 3 days, with 3 cases reported May 9 and 9 more today, including 4 that may represent a household cluster.

The three cases announced by the Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) 2 days ago involved three men, none of them healthcare workers, in three widely separated locations:

  • A 61-year-old expatriate in Najran, a southern city, who died of the illness
  • A 48-year-old Saudi in the southwestern city of Taif who is in critical condition
  • A 75-year-old Saudi in Abqaiq, a town in the Eastern province, who is in stable condition

None of them were reported to have had contact with other MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) patients.

Nine new cases today

None of the nine new cases announced today are in healthcare workers. Four patients are from Hofuf in the Eastern province and are said to have had household contact with other MERS patients, suggesting that they may form a household cluster.

The Hofuf patients, all Saudis, include a 30-year-old man and three women, ages 24, 59, and 30, all of them hospitalized, according to the MOH. The latest previous case in Hofuf was announced May 5 and involved a 39-year-old Saudi man who had had contact with other MERS patients in the community or a healthcare setting.

The other five patients reported today, all men, include one in Taif and four in Riyadh. The Taif patient, who died, was a 74-year-old Saudi who acquired his infection in a healthcare setting.

The four Riyadh patients, all hospitalized, include a 38-year-old foreigner in an intensive care unit (ICU), a 33-year-old foreigner, a 71-year-old Saudi in an ICU, and a 46-year-old foreigner. None of them had been exposed to other MERS patients.

The new cases increase the total for May to 15, following 8 cases in April, 53 in March, and 75 in February. The MOH's cumulative MERS total is 996 cases, with 431 deaths and 13 patients still getting treatment.

See also:

May 11 MOH notice

May 9 MOH announcement

MOH page with links to daily updates

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