We’ve another long WHO GAR update on the ongoing MERS outbreak in Saudi Arabia. Today’s update lists 29 cases recorded between August 18th and August 21st. Due to the length of this update, I’ve elected to briefly chart the cases (see spreadsheet below), rather than print the entire update.
For many of these cases, the story is sadly the same.
They were either admitted to a Riyadh hospital for an unrelated condition, visited an ER in the past 14 days, or visited a friend in a local hospital during the 14 days prior to falling ill with the MERS virus.
Most have no known direct contact with a previously identified case, and the the phrase `Investigation of possible epidemiological links with the MERS-CoV cases admitted to her hospital or with shared health care workers is ongoing.’ appears frequently.
Despite repeated MOH campaigns designed improve infection control procedures, after three years of MERS cases, Saudi hospitals obviously continue to struggle.
Four cases are listed a direct contacts of known cases, while three are listed as Health Care Workers. With one exception (case #29), the time from testing positive to being announced by the MOH was roughly half of what we saw in the last announcement.
Due to the vague wording about `onset of symptoms’ in these WHO reports, it is difficult to draw conclusions, but based on the narrative provided, some cases appeared to only have been tested very late in their illness.
Some excerpts from the WHO report follow. Click the link to read the full report.
Disease outbreak news
26 August 2015
Between 18 and 21 August 2015, the National IHR Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia notified WHO of 29 additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, including 6 deaths.
Twenty-four (24) of these reported cases are associated with a MERS-CoV outbreak currently occurring in a hospital in Riyadh city.
One (1) of these reported cases is associated with a smaller MERS-CoV outbreak currently occurring in another hospital in Riyadh city.
(SNIP PATIENT DETAILS)
Contact tracing of household and healthcare contacts is ongoing for these cases.
The National IHR Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also notified WHO of the death of 1 MERS-CoV case that was reported in a previous DON on 21 August (case no. 6).
Globally, since September 2012, WHO has been notified of 1,461 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including at least 514 related deaths.