Thursday, April 07, 2016

Saudi MOH Announces Another (Fatal) MERS Case


It's a trend I've mentioned a couple of times over the past few weeks, but for the 11th time in only a month, the Saudi MOH has posthumously announced a MERS case.

This time it is a 70 y.o. male from Abha - the capital of Asir province - listed as a `primary case'.

Since March 8th the Saudi MOH has reported a total of 45 MERS cases.  Of those, 11 were already dead at the time they were reported. Additionally, 14 were listed in critical condition.

Although the Saudis don't provide the date of positive MERS testing in their daily updates, last September I managed to audit a small number of cases and found the average delay between testing positive and being reported by the MOH was near to 3 days, with a maximum of 7.

This might explain why nearly 25% of all cases in the past month were initially reported as `expired', while another 31% were already in critical condition when reported.

But another possibility is that MERS infections aren't being recognized early. And if that turns out to be the case, it increases the odds that others might be exposed either in the community, or in hospital settings.

So far, except for the major outbreak in Buraidah, we haven't seen any other large clusters reported in 2016.   We'll simply have to wait and see if that luck holds.

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