For the past couple of weeks we’ve been following an extended outbreak of MERS in and around the Capital city of Riyadh. As of today, at least 13 cases have been confirmed by the Saudi Ministry of Health.
Although the information provided on the MOH website is fairly cryptic, it has been apparent that contacts of family members, and nosocomial contacts, have been infected. Additionally, some cases have no known risk exposures listed.
Today the Ministry of Health has posted a long statement regarding a family cluster, apparently in response to criticisms lodged by family members to the media. First, a (translated) excerpt from one of the media sources of the accusations, then the MOH response.
Riyadh Khalid Al Shaya
August 6, 2015
Saudi Ministry of Health and health affairs at the Ministry of National Guard issued a joint statement on Thursday, made it clear the recording of cases of HIV Middle East respiratory syndrome Coruna central Saudi family in Riyadh region. The family has accused the Ministry of Health of causing the injury of six members with the virus, the lack of follow-up to one of its members who was formerly the disease and neglect checking the rest.
The tired-Harbi, a family member, said on Wednesday that four of his family contracted the disease, including his mother, who died, and three of his uncles. He said, adding: "My father virus wounded first, but in spite of it remains in intensive care for five days, but the hospital is directed, declaring that he is no longer suffering from it, which is what caused the transmission of the virus to my mother, who died outcome, and after the virus has moved to my brother, who is currently lying in Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz Hospital with three of my uncles because of the virus. "
He continued, "I attended a medical committee of the Ministry of Health to our house after Thbot injury and my father HIV and conducted tests for a limited number of the family, and they told us that the results were negative. and asked them to check the rest, but they refused, knowing that the effects of the disease were visible on my mother. "
The index case (the father) who remains hospitalized, appears to have had recent camel (“beauty”) contact. Subsequently his wife has succumbed, and two sons have been hospitalized. At least one other family member is isolated at home.
Apparently these charges have induced the MOH to take the unusual step of publishing a formal response (see below), where they acknowledge the family cluster, but do not directly address the family’s allegations.
As machine translations often lose some context and flavor along the way, if and when an English language statement is published, we may be able to glean more from it.
21 October 1436
A desire to shed light on more information on registered cases of HIV (La Coruna), Ministry of Health and Health Affairs at the Ministry of National Guard has issued a joint statement, which made clear recording cases of HIV Middle East respiratory syndrome (Corona) amid a Saudi family in the Riyadh region, including two cases Mnomtan Hospital King Abdulaziz Medical City, National Guard, and the state of hypnotic Hospital, Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz, and the case moved to the mercy of God.
Symptoms and signs have emerged the first case (the father) and who suffer from chronic diseases, and underwent the process of eradication of college previously, and hypnotic currently at King Abdulaziz Medical City, National Guard, and receive the necessary medical care, ask God cure him.
And it has been shown through epidemiological investigation of the case that the patient Mkhalt to beauty, was immediately conduct epidemiological investigation and debate all contacts, and a sampling of those who showed symptoms of the disease, and in accordance with the directives issued by the command and control center at the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization Scientific Committee.
As for the second case (mother), the wife of the first patient case; it has been discovered through follow-up to household contacts of the first case, he has died, ask God have mercy and forgiveness.
The third case, the son of the first and the second case, he is hypnotized Hospital, Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz, and receive necessary medical care, God's lips.
For the fourth case is the brother of the first case, and hypnotized at King Abdulaziz Medical City, National Guard, and receive necessary medical care, God's lips.
It should be noted that a family member was found positivity when the virus check, which is isolated now at home, and is a carrier of the virus only, and does not apply it your disease virus case definition (Corona) in accordance with the Guidelines approved by the Scientific Committee and the center of command and control at the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization and the control center and control diseases in the United States of America, and place a stable home, thankfully.
For its part, the Ministry of Health made it clear that this is not the first time that an outbreak occur amid members of one family, there have been outbreaks earlier, also in Al-Ahsa province to the family of one of the seven members, also occurred in the province of Taif and Riyadh region, all outbreaks of the center of a Saudi family link among them is communion friction and beauty products.
The Ministry of Health also confirmed that it already noted for all in more than one occasion through the media channels and various means of social communication through the campaign (appreciate plugged) health awareness, and calls upon the ministry now valued citizens need to take the necessary precautions when dealing with beauty, from the coverage of the mouth, face and follow health habits for example, washing of hands.
The ministry also Taml the integrative role with our partners from government agencies in the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and valued citizens who trust in the health and awareness.
We ask God for this family urgently healing, and that the ruthless dead
While large family clusters of MERS have been reported before, they are uncommon enough to warrant additional investigation and scientific scrutiny. Hopefully whatever is learned will be shared – sooner rather than later – by the Saudi Authorities.