Thursday, October 22, 2015

Riyadh & Hofuf Add MERS Cases


# 10,649


The plot continues to thicken with Riyadh’s ex-pat cluster, adding two new cases (1 being a HCW).  Meanwhile, Hofuf appears to have started another round of nosocomial transmission.   You’ll find details on the first 4 Riyadh cluster cases (including a number of unanswered questions) in my first blog of this morning:

 WHO Update On Riyadh Household MERS Cluster


First stop, Riyadh, where the case count now stands at 9 (8 symptomatic, 1 asymptomatic) reported over the past 12 days.  One of the new cases is listed as a `secondary household contact’ – as were cases #5, #6, & #7 -  with the other is listed as `Secondary Health Acquired(HCW)’. 


This represents another infection control setback for Riyadh’s hospitals, which only recently halted a 2-month-long nosocomial outbreak that involved well over 100 cases.


The third case today is from Hofuf, which between April and July saw a family cluster grow into a major nosocomial outbreak, involving over 40 patients across at least two hospitals.   Today’s case is the third announced from Hofuf in less than a week (the first two were listed as `primary’ or community acquired infections). 

Today’s case appears to have been infected while hospitalized for another reason, which is route by which 1/3rd of all Saudi Arabian MERS cases have acquired the virus.


Despite repeated attempts by the Saudi MOH to mandate better infection control protocols for Saudi Hospitals, healthcare facilities continue to amplify outbreaks at a remarkable rate. 


Nearly half (45%) of all Saudi cases involve nosocomial transmission. Jordan, the UAE, and South Korea have all experienced similar outbreaks.  


A reminder of the importance of continued vigilance at all hospitals for walk-ins with MERS (and other infectious diseases), and of how even a small breach in infection control standards can lead to serious risks to both patients and staff.

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