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WHO confirms 11 recent Saudi MERS cases

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    Posted: December 18 2014 at 6:37am
WHO confirms 11 recent Saudi MERS cases, 4 deaths

The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed 11 MERS-CoV cases, including 4 deaths, reported by Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) from Nov 20 to Dec 7.

The patients are from all over the country, with 4 in Taif, 2 in Al-Kharj city, and 1 each in Riyadh, Buraidah, Najran, Rafha, and Sakakah. Only two are women, while eight are Saudi nationals. Their ages range from 28 to 79 years, with a median of 52.

One patient, a 40-year-old man from Taif, is a health worker, though his facility has not treated a confirmed case of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus), the WHO said. Three patients reported exposure to other MERS patients before they contracted the virus. Five patients had pre-existing disease.

Three patients reported recent animal exposure, one to sheep, one to camels and sheep, and one—a 28-year-old man in Najran—to unspecified animals, though the report said, "He lives in an area with heavy presence of camels, although he has no history of contact with them." In addition, one patient, a 70-year-old woman in critical condition, had no history of contact with camels, "but her household contacts had frequent contact with animals."

Among the 8 surviving patients, 3 are currently in critical condition and 5 in stable condition, the WHO said, adding that contact tracing is ongoing for these cases.

In related news, the MOH reported no new MERS-CoV cases today, but it said a 28-year-old man in Najran has recovered from the disease. This appears to be the 28-year-old expatriate mentioned in today's WHO report, which lists the man in critical condition in an intensive care unit. The Saudi MERS count stands at 821 cases, including 355 deaths.
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