News Scan for Apr 02, 2018

Saudi MERS cases
Flu prevention steps

Saudi Arabia records 3 new MERS cases

The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) released details of three new cases of MERS-CoV over the weekend, including two cases in Hofuf.

Both a 54-year-old Saudi man and a 5-year-old Saudi boy in Hofuf were diagnosed as having MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus), the MOH said on Mar 30. They are in stable condition and were described as having direct contact with camels, a known risk factor for contracting the virus.  

Yesterday, the MOH said a 50-year-old man from Ahad Rafidah was in critical condition with MERS. The source of his infection is listed as "primary," meaning it's unlikely he contracted the virus from another person.  

Saudi Arabia's MERS-CoV total cases since 2012 have now reached 1,828, including 739 deaths. Eleven people are still being treated for their infections.
Mar 30 MOH update
Apr 1 MOH update


Study shows non-vaccine flu prevention more popular than flu vaccine

In addition to receiving the flu vaccine, the top actions Americans take to prevent influenza include washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home while sick, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and elsewhere reported in PLoS One.

The team analyzed data from the 2015 National Internet Flu Survey, a nationally represented survey of 3,301 US adults, 55% of whom were 49 and younger. They assessed for 16 prevention behaviors during the 2015-16 flu season grouped into four categories: (1) flu vaccination, (2) personal hygiene behaviors, (3) personal health and dietary behaviors, and (4) interpersonal social behaviors.

Although flu vaccination has long been touted as the best way to prevent seasonal flu, only 49.8% reported availing themselves of that tool. Hand washing was the most common prevention behavior, used by 83.2%, followed by covering coughs and sneezes (80.0%), staying home if sick with a respiratory infection (78.2%), avoiding those who have a respiratory illness (64.4%), using hand sanitizers (51.7%), and seeking treatment as soon as possible (50.2%).

The authors conclude, "Though vaccination is the most important tool available to prevent influenza, the addition of preventive behaviors might play an effective role in reducing or slowing transmission of influenza and complement prevention efforts."
Mar 30 PLoS One study

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