Saudi Arabia has been dealing with growing nosocomial / household clusters of MERS for a little over two weeks, without outbreaks both in Riyadh and in Hofuf. Both cities saw major outbreaks over the summer.
The Riyadh cluster, from which the first case emerged on October 10th, involves 36 expat housemates living in a crowded 3 room apartment in Eastern Riyadh, some of whom are employees working at Princess Nora University. We’ve no word on how the virus was originally acquired, but thus far 9 household members have tested positive (2 are asymptomatic).
Today we also learn of the 2nd Riyadh HCW infected in less than a week. Whether they acquired the virus from treating patients from the expat cluster mentioned above, or from some other source, isn’t clear. There have been several other `primary’ MERS cases admitted to Riyadh hospitals over the past two weeks.
Meanwhile, Hofuf reports two more MERS cases, both in patients reportedly infected while already hospitalized. This makes five nosocomial cases reported out of Hofuf in the span of a week (4 patients, 1 HCW). Two community `primary’ cases were reported the previous week.
Today’s announcement makes 18 new MERS cases over the past 12 days, and provides ongoing evidence that the Saudis continue to struggle with infection control in their hospitals.