With three more cases announced today, the 5-day total of MERS cases out of Saudi Arabia reaches 14, with all but one of those cases from Riyadh. Two of today’s cases are listed as contacts of previously identified cases, while the exposure for the third is unknown.
Although the information provided by the Saudi MOH on their website is cryptic, we usually get more details from the periodic WHO GAR reports. The last one published (August 6th) only detailed cases up to late July (28th & 29th), so we don’t have much insight into this current crop of cases beyond a Saudi MOH Statement On MERS Family Cluster two days ago.
Recent WHO reports have attributed infections to a variety of exposures; camels & camel products,household transmission, and nosocomial transmission.
But for a significant number of cases - no risk exposure has been identified. As we’ve discussed previously (see WHO EMRO: Scientific Meeting Reviews MERS Progress & Knowledge Gaps) there remain significant gaps in our understanding of how this virus is circulating in the community and in the wild in the Middle East.
At this time the Saudi MOH reports 13 cases hospitalized, and two isolated at home.