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Saudi officials announce 4 new MERS casesSaudi Ara

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    Posted: December 05 2016 at 3:36pm
Saudi officials announce 4 new MERS cases

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported four new MERS-CoV cases in the past 3 days, including two from the holy city Medina, as the World Health Organization (WHO) today fleshed out more details about nine of the country's recently reported cases, four of which had a history of contact with camels or raw camel milk.

The new cases are part of a small but steady stream of cases from the country in which MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) was first detected 4 years ago.
One of 4 new cases involved camel contact

All of the newly reported MERS cases involve men. On Dec 2 the MOH announced two cases, those of a 62-year-old Saudi from Sakaka in the northwestern part of the country and a 73-year-old Saudi from Medina, located in west central Saudi Arabia. Both of the patients are listed in stable condition and had primary sources of infection, meaning investigators found they weren't likely exposed to another sick patient.

Yesterday the MOH reported that the virus sickened a 45-year-old foreign man in Riyadh. The man isn't a healthcare worker and is hospitalized in critical condition. Health officials also announced the death of a previously announced patient, a 68-year-old Saudi man from Al Kharj who had underlying health conditions.

The case reported today involves an 85-year-old Saudi man in Medina who had direct contact with camels before he got sick. He is hospitalized in critical condition. The MOH also announced the death of another previously reported patient, a 56-year-old Saudi man from Hafar Al Batin in the east central part of Saudi Arabia who had preexisting health conditions.

The 4 new illnesses lift Saudi Arabia's MERS-CoV total to 1,498, and the 2 latest deaths push the fatality count from the disease to 620. Fifteen patients are still being treated for their infections.
WHO report covers 9 recent cases

Meanwhile, the WHO shared more epidemiologic details about nine MERS-CoV reports submitted by Saudi Arabia between Nov 12 and Nov 27. Four of the patients had contact with camels or drank raw camel milk, two known sources of virus exposure. Investigators are still trying to pin down exposure sources for the other five patients.

Six of the cases involved men, and their ages range from 29 to 59. Illness onsets range from Nov 2 to Nov 18. Aside from two cases from Hafar Al Batin, the patients hail from different cities. All but one of the individuals is a Saudi citizen. The expat is a 53-year-old man living in Buqayq who is hospitalized in stable condition.

The other patients are from Najran, Arar, Az Zulfi, Al Aflaj, Afif, and Tabuk. For the four patients who had a history of contact with camels or had consumed camel milk, health officials informed the agriculture ministry, which conducts follow-up investigation on the camels.

One of the patients died, a 59-year-old woman from Najran. She had been in critical condition in the intensive care unit, where she was placed on a ventilator. One of the patients is hospitalized in critical condition, and seven are listed in stable condition.

The WHO said health officials are still tracing the patients' household and healthcare contacts.

Since 2012 when MERS-CoV was first detected in humans the WHO has received reports of 1,841 cases, at least 652 of them fatal. By far the largest portion of them are from Saudi Arabia.

Dec 5 WHO update
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