News Scan for Feb 06, 2015

Saudi Arabia confirms 4 MERS cases
More polio-like illnesses in US

Saudi Arabia reports 4 MERS-CoV cases, 1 death

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported four new MERS cases and one death in the past 2 days, bringing the country's total to 855 cases since June 2012. The country has confirmed 10 cases in the past 5 days.

The MOH reported three cases of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) today in Saudi men who have underlying conditions and are not healthcare workers. A 49-year-old man from Dammam and a 57-year-old man from Riyadh are both hospitalized in critical condition. Neither man had recent exposure to animals or to MERS cases in clinical or community settings.

The third case-patient is a 62-year-old man from Riyadh who is in stable condition. The man did not have contact with MERS-CoV cases in clinical or community settings, but he does have a history of animal exposure.

Yesterday, the MOH reported a MERS case in a 34-year-old female expatriate living in Riyadh. She has no underlying medical condition and is not a healthcare worker. She also had no exposure to animals or to MERS patients in clinical or community settings. The woman is hospitalized in stable condition.

The MOH today also noted the MERS-related death of a 56-year-old woman from Al-Kharj whose case was previously reported. She had an underlying medical condition and was not a healthcare worker.

Fourteen MERS-CoV cases remain active in Saudi Arabia, 475 people have recovered, and 366 have died.
Feb 6 MOH update
Feb 5 MOH update


CDC says 4 more children afflicted with mysterious polio-like illness

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported 4 more cases of an unexplained polio-like illness that causes limb weakness in children, raising the count to 111 cases in 34 states since last August.

The rash of cases largely coincided with a nationwide outbreak of severe respiratory infections in children caused by enterovirus D68 (EV-D68). Some patients with the polio-like illness tested positive for the virus, but investigators have not yet established whether EV-D68 is the cause of the neurologic illness.

The CDC refers to the polio-like illness as acute flaccid myelitis. The agency says that about two thirds of the children have had some improvement in their symptoms, but only one has fully recovered.

The four new cases were reported by the CDC in a Jan 30 update. The agency and others are continuing to investigate the outbreak.
CDC update on AFM investigation
Related Jan 29 CIDRAP News story

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