WHO confirms 2 MERS cases in Saudi Arabia

Electron microscope image of MERS-CoV
MERS-CoV as revealed by an electron microscope

MERS-CoV as revealed by an electron microscope., CDC / Cynthia Goldsmith

The World Health Organization (WHO) supplied a bit of new information today as it noted two recent Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases reported in Saudi Arabia.

One case involved a 58-year-old man from Al-Ahsa province who became ill on Feb 2 and was hospitalized 2 days later, the WHO said. He recovered and was released from the hospital on Feb 24.

The man had multiple chronic diseases and was reported to have had contact with unspecified animals before his illness, the agency said. The animal contact was not mentioned in Saudi Arabia's announcement of the case on Feb 20.

The other case was in an 81-year-old woman from the Riyadh region who had chronic diseases and was hospitalized on Feb 2. She experienced MERS symptoms on Feb 5 and died 3 days later, the WHO noted. She had not reported any recent contact with animals.

The Feb 20 Saudi announcement of her case did not mention the date of her death or address the question of animal contact.

The two cases raise the WHO's MERS-CoV tally to 184 cases, of which 81 were fatal. Saudi Arabia's current MERS count is 151 cases and 62 deaths.

Since the Saudi announcement of these two cases on Feb 20, the country has reported four other cases that have not yet been noted by the WHO. The cases, with the dates they were announced, involved:

  • A 56-year-old Riyadh woman, Feb 26
  • A 55-year-old Riyadh man who died, Mar 5
  • A 51-year-old Riyadh man, Mar 5
  • An 86-year-old Riyadh man who was asymptomatic and had had contact with other MERS patients, Mar 6

See also:

Mar 11 WHO statement

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