Although a considerable reduction over the numbers we’ve seen over the past couple of days, the Saudi MOH nonetheless reports three new MERS cases from Riyadh this morning, along with three deaths, plus 2 recoveries from Najran.
Since the 3rd of August, Saudi Arabia has reported 61 MERS cases, with 58 of those from Riyadh.
While details have been scant, the majority of recent cases appear to be nosocomial in nature, with many cases only having a history of being admitted to medical facilities where MERS patients were being treated (see WHO MERS Update – Saudi Arabia – August 18th).
A pattern not unlike what South Korean was dealing with two months ago.
Of note, of the three new cases announced today, 2 are reported in critical condition and 1 has already expired. Of yesterday’s 10 cases, 4 were already in critical condition and 1 had expired, and the day before, 4 out of 9 were listed in critical condition.
Without onset dates, it is difficult to determine just how `current’ these recently announced cases really are, but based on previous WHO GAR updates, cases are sometimes announced as much as a week after they have tested positive. A couple of recent examples:
- The 63 year-old male reported infected on August 11th by the MOH reportedly tested positive on August 5th (cite WHO).
- The 57 year old male reported infected on August 10th by the MOH tested positive for MERS-CoV on August 2nd.
There appears to be no pattern regarding reporting delays, as some cases are reported almost immediately. The bottom line here is that - despite the billing from the MOH - the daily totals being reported by the Saudis don’t necessarily represent the level of MERS activity over the previous 24 hours.