Following an unusually active summer, MERS reports in Saudi Arabia have dropped markedly during the past month, with today’s announced case only the 4th of November.
Details, as usual, are scant – but this case involved a 35 y.o. female (non HCW) who is listed in critical condition, and who is considered a `primary’ case.
Primary cases are those who had no known exposure to an infected human, and represent nearly 40% of Saudi Arabia’s MERS cases.
That does not rule out a human community acquired infection, however. MERS doesn’t present as a severe illness in everyone - mild and asymptomatic cases have been documented - allowing for the possibility of spread in the community from persons not recognized as being sick.
Primary cases may also acquire the virus directly or indirectly from camel – or possibly camel product – exposure (see EID Journal: Risk Factors For Primary MERS-CoV Infection, Saudi Arabia). And there may be other exposure risks as well.
For for the majority of primary cases, their source of exposure remains unknown.