Two new MERS cases confirmed in Saudi Arabia

World Health Organisation says total of 165 cases reported globally with 71 deaths so far
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Andy Sambidge
Wed 18 Dec 2013 08:18 PM

The World Health Organisation said on Wednesday it has been informed of an additional two laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Saudi Arabia.

The first case is a 51-year-old female from Saudi Arabia, living in Jawf province who has been transferred to Riyadh for treatment in an intensive care unit, WHO said in a statement.

It added that she has had no reported contact with animals and epidemiological investigation is ongoing.

The second case is a 26-year-old female who is a non-Saudi healthcare worker in Riyadh. She had reported contact with a 37-year-old male laboratory confirmed case that was reported to WHO on November 21.

Globally, WHO has been informed of a total of 165 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 71 deaths.

Health care providers are being advised by WHO to maintain vigilance. Recent travellers returning from the Middle East who develop SARI should be tested for MERS-CoV, it said.

On Tuesday, it was reported that the MERS coronovirus was discovered in three camels on a farm in Qatar.

Previous studies into the coronavirus, of which the majority of victims have been in Saudi Arabia, have supported a theory that camels are spreading the pathogen.

Researchers from Qatar and the Netherlands wrote in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal that the infected dromedary camels were from a barn about 19 miles outside of the Gulf state’s capital Doha.

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