The Saudi summer surge in MERS cases continues today, with reports of two cases from a new location (Namas), along with additional reports from both Riyadh and Al Kharj. Al-Namas is located in Asir Province, roughly 400 km from both Najran and Mecca, and 900 km from Riyadh.
A bit curious, as both cases in Namas are listed as contacts of a confirmed or suspected case, yet these are the first cases from this area we’ve seen reported. Hopefully we’ll get an indication of the source of their exposure in an upcoming WHO update.
From Riyadh, one case is listed as a Healthcare worker with contact with a confirmed MERS patient. Of the other two, one is listed as not having any known contact, while the other is under review.
During the month of August MERS cases were primarily centered around Riyadh, but in recent days we’ve seen a growing number reported outside of the capital city.
Yesterday’s WHO Statement On The 10th Meeting Of the IHR Emergency Committee On MERS took note of the approaching Hajj, stating:
Moreover, the current outbreak is occurring close to the start of the Hajj and many pilgrims will return to countries with weak surveillance and health systems. The recent outbreak in the Republic of Korea demonstrated that when the MERS virus appears in a new setting, there is great potential for widespread transmission and severe disruption to the health system and to society.