Sunday, May 24, 2015

WHO MERS-CoV Updates: South Korea, Qatar, UAE

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Coronavirus – Credit CDC PHIL

 

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The World Health Organization has also posted updates on three recent MERS events outside of Saudi Arabia.  The first details South Korea’s first imported case, and subsequent transmission of the virus.

 

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Republic of Korea

Disease outbreak news
24 May 2015

On 20 May 2015, the National IHR Focal Point of the Republic of Korea notified WHO of the first laboratory confirmed case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection. On 21 May, two additional confirmed cases were reported.

Details of the case are as follows:

The first case is a 68 year-old male with the following travel history: 18-29 April, Bahrain; 29-30 April, United Arab Emirates; 30 April to 1 May, Bahrain; 1-2 May, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; 2 May, Bahrain; and 2-3 May, Qatar. The patient arrived at Korea’s Incheon International airport via Qatar on 4 May. He was asymptomatic on arrival. The patient developed symptoms on 11 May and sought medical care at a clinic from 12 May to 15 May on an outpatient basis. He was then admitted to hospital on 15 May and discharged on 17 May. On the evening of discharge, the patient visited the emergency department of another hospital. A sputum sample tested positive for MERS-CoV on 20 May, whereupon he was transferred to the nationally designated treatment facility for isolation. The patient has no history of exposure to known risk factors in the 14 days prior to detection. Investigation of the source of infection is ongoing.

The two additional cases were laboratory-confirmed for MERS-CoV on 21 May. One is a household contact. The other is a patient who shared the same hospital room with the first case. Currently, all three patients are in stable condition.

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This week we’ve also seen reports of two MERS cases from Qatar . The following report details the first of these.

 

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Qatar

Disease outbreak news
24 May 2015

On 21 May 2015, the National IHR Focal Point of Qatar notified WHO of 1 additional case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection

Details of the case are as follows:

A 29-year-old, non-national male from Doha developed symptoms on 15 May and sought medical advice at a primary health care center on 19 May, whereupon he was treated symptomatically and sent home with home isolation instructions. Nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs tested positive for MERS-CoV on 20 May, whereupon the patient was admitted to hospital. He has no comorbidities. The patient has a history of frequent contact with camels but no consumption of raw camel milk. He has no history of exposure to other known risk factors in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms. Currently, the patient is in stable condition in a negative pressure isolation room on a ward. Contact tracing of household contacts and healthcare contacts is ongoing for the case.

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And the third reports the finding of a second asymptomatic MERS case among workers who were transporting camels from Oman to the UAE.  Imported camels are routinely tested for the virus, and when a positive reading was found, those with exposure were also tested (see WHO: Asymptomatic MERS-CoV Case – UAE).

 

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – United Arab Emirates

Disease outbreak news
24 May 2015

On 18 May 2015, the IHR National Focal Point of the United Arab Emirates notified WHO of 1 additional case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection.

Details of the case are as follows:

The patient is a 33-year-old, non-national male from Al Ain. He has a history of contact with MERS-CoV infected camels imported from Oman (see DON of 18 May). A sputum sample tested positive for MERS-CoV on 17 May, whereupon the patient was admitted to hospital. He was asymptomatic at the time of laboratory testing. He has no comorbidities and no history of exposure to other known risk factors in the 14 days prior to detection. Currently, the case is still asymptomatic and in stable condition in a negative pressure room on a ward.

Contact tracing of household contacts and healthcare contacts is ongoing for the case. The National IHR Focal Point of the United Arab Emirates informed the National IHR Focal Point of Oman about this case. Investigation of human contacts of the MERS-CoV infected camels is ongoing in Oman.

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Asymptomatic infections are of particular interest since so many community-acquired cases seemingly have no known exposure risks.  While it isn’t known yet whether asymptomatic cases can transmit the virus, researchers are eager to study these cases to try to figure that out (see Study: Possible Transmission From Asymptomatic MERS-CoV Case)..

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