As the listing of MOH press releases below illustrates, the number of MERS reports in Saudi Arabia has picked up over the past week. Although there are some discrepancies (No English Language report for August 6th), and case details are scant, at least 15 cases have been reported out of the capital city of Riyadh over the past 7 days.
Today’s contributions to the outbreak include 3 cases from Riyadh, one of which is a Healthcare worker. Two cases are traced to contact (either community or hospital) with a known case, while an investigation remains ongoing on the third.
Three days after we saw an Arabic announcement of a Family Cluster in Riyadh (see Saudi MOH Statement On MERS Family Cluster), the MOH has posted a much `cleaner’ English Language version (see below). Due to a lack of identifying information, it is difficult to match up these cases with those listed in the daily MOH reports.
Hopefully we’ll get some badly needed clarification in an upcoming WHO GAR report.
06 August 2015
With the aim of shedding more light on the detected cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), the Ministry of Health (MOH), jointly with the Health Affairs Sector at the Ministry of National Guard, have issued a statement in which they pointed out that MERS-CoV cases have been detected amongst a Saudi family in Riyadh. Two of these cases have been admitted to King Abdulaziz Medical City's (KAMC) Hospital, affiliated to the National Guard, another one has been admitted to Prince Mohammad bin in Abdulaziz Hospital, whereas a case has passed away.
The symptoms appeared firstly on the father, who is suffering from chronic diseases, and had previously undergone a nephrectomy surgery. He is currently hospitalized in King Abdulaziz Medical City's Hospital, National Guard, and receiving the necessary health care, may Allah grant him speed recovery.
Upon the epidemiological surveillance of the case, it turned out that the patient was in contact with camels. And immediately all those around him were examined, and samples were taken from those who have shown symptoms of the disease, in accordance with the directives of the Scientific Committee, as per the guidelines of the MOH's Command and Control Center (CCC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Regarding the second case (the mother), who is also the wife of the first case; she was detected during the follow-up of those in contact with the first case. She passed away, may Allah forgives her.
Still, the third case is the son of both parents, and he is now hospitalized in Prince Mohammad bin Abduaziz Hospital, May Allah grant him speedy recovery.
The fourth case is the first case’s brother, and he is hospitalized in King Abdulaziz Medical City's Hospital, National Guard, and is receiving necessary medical care, may Allah grant him speedy recovery.
It is noteworthy that one of the family members was found positive when tested for MERS-CoV, and is now quarantined at home. He is reckoned only holder of the virus, and thus may not be defined as a Corona case as per the guidelines approved by the Scientific Committee, the CCC, the WHO, and the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And his condition is stable at home, thanks to Allah.
On its part, the MOH said that it is not the first time to see the infection affecting the members of one family. Indeed, there are many previous cases, such as the case of a family of seven members in Al-Ahsa Province. Similar cases took place also in Taif province and Riyadh region. All these are instances of the infection prevailing amongst Saudi families who have common habits, such as close contact with camels and their products.
The MOH also confirmed that it has previously urged the public on many occasions via the classic and social media, by means of the health awareness campaign dubbed: "We can stop this", and would like now to reiterate the importance of taking the necessary precautions when dealing with camels, such as using face masks and following sound health habits including washing hands.
Meanwhile, the MOH remains optimistic when it comes to the integrated role with our partners including governmental bodies at the ministries of agriculture and municipal and rural affairs, as well as the respectable citizens whom we trust in their high health awareness.
May Allah grant this family speedy recovery, and have mercy upon the deceased.