Saudi Arabia records 2 more MERS cases in Khafji, 7 total in that city
Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) today reported two more MERS-CoV cases in Khafji, more evidence suggesting the city may be the site of a household or healthcare cluster. These are the sixth and seventh cases reported in Khafji since Mar 29.
The patients, as with the previous five, are both men, one of whom was a 60-year-old who died from his MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) infection, the MOH said in an update to its epidemiologic week 14 report. The other patient is 74 years old.
The source of the men's infections is not known at this time. Khafji is in northeastern Saudi Arabia near the Kuwaiti border.
The new cases raise the country's MERS total for the year to 121 infections, which includes 57 linked to a large outbreak in Wadi ad-Dawasir.
Apr 5 MOH update
China reports first H7N9 avian flu illness of 2019
China has reported its first human H7N9 avian influenza case of the year, in an 82-year-old man from Gansu province, Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said today, based on information it received from the mainland's National Health Commission.
The patient is hospitalized in serious condition. The report didn't say how the man was exposed, but people sickened by H7N9 often have a history of contact with poultry or exposure to poultry environments, such as live-poultry markets. Gansu province is located in northwestern China.
In China, the 2017 launch of a poultry vaccine against H5 and H7 viruses has been tied to a steep decline in poultry outbreaks and resulting infections in humans, but sporadic detections continue to occur. The country reported its last human H7N9 infection in February 2018 in a man from Guangdong province.
Apr 5 CHP statement
Polio case confirmed in Afghanistan as WHO group discusses eradication
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) today in its weekly update said Afghanistan has reported one more wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV) case, which occurred in Shahid-e-Hassas district in Uruzgan province, located in the central part of the country.
Paralysis onset occurred on Feb 25. Afghanistan has now reported three WPV1 cases for 2019. The country reported no new environmental samples positive for poliovirus.
In other developments, the World Health Organization (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization, at its meeting in Geneva this week, discussed issues related to the last stages of polio eradication.
At a media telebriefing today, Kate O'Brien, MD, MPH, who directs the WHO's department of immunization, vaccines, and biologicals, said that, pending no changes, health officials anticipate Nigeria will be certified as free of wild poliovirus this year and that worldwide eradication of wild poliovirus type 3 will be certified.
Apr 5 GPEI weekly update