Credit VDU Blog
The earliest known human infections with the MERS coronavirus occurred just over two years ago at a hospital in Jordan, and over the first year produced barely a handful of confirmed cases across the Arabian peninsula. Just over a year ago (March 26th, 2013) the World Health Organization was only reporting a total of 17 cases (11 Fatalities).
An average of 1.5 cases reported per month during the first year.
Cases began a steady climb – particularly in Saudi Arabia – beginning last spring. From March 26th, 2013 to March 26, 2014 the official tally grew to 200 laboratory-confirmed cases, including 85 deaths. Roughly a 10 fold increase over the previous 12 months.
Or an average of 15.25 cases reported per month during the second year.
Over the past three weeks, we’ve seen roughly 80 cases reported (numbers are approximate as not all have been confirmed by the WHO). These come primarily from a pair of large clusters in KSA and the UAE – which together account for more than 25% of all of the cases reported to date. And it is likely that we’ll see more cases announced in the coming days.
Given the number of mild or asymptomatic cases detected to date – it’s a pretty good bet that we are only counting a subset of the actual number of infections.
A disturbing trend that Dr. Ian Mackay charts, and discusses, in his latest blog. Ian also calls for the quick release of sequences from recent cases, so that we can determine if this is `MERS-CoV Mk II’ – a new & improved coronavirus model for 2014.
Follow the link to read:
The Jeddah cluster | Jeddah | Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
It is the biggest of any of the clusters of MERS-CoV cases within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, MERS-central (0 to date. It has seeded at least 2 internationally exported cases (a fatal case in Malaysia and now a case in Greece). It totals 53 cases so far; the tally for this cluster began after the onset of illness in the first case, 6-Apr.
The paramedic cluster | Abu Dhabi | United Arab Emirates
Happening simultaneously and right next door is a cluster of cases that began 28-Mar. It stands at 14 cases as I compose this; most recent with an onset of 14-Apr.
These dates, starting points and information are all up in the air of course.
In much the same vein, Helen Branswell overnight has published a terrific overview of where these latest outbreaks stand – and concerns being voiced by scientists – in her article:
By Helen Branswell, The Canadian Press April 18, 2014
TORONTO - It’s beginning to feel like SARS revisited.
For some of the scientists and doctors who helped the world battle the 2003 SARS outbreak, the recent rapid rise in human infections in several Middle Eastern countries caused by a cousin virus is creating a sense of sharp unease.
Cases of Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome — MERS — have shot up markedly in the past month, driven it appears by outbreaks in hospitals or among health-care workers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.