MERS updates from the Saudi MOH have been more chaotic than usual these past few weeks, with updates often published 1 or 2 days late, posted out of date order, released only in Arabic, or skipping days entirely (see update list below).
Late yesterday (or perhaps overnight) the Saudi MOH published updates for both the 9th and 10th, providing us with the first news on the apparent ongoing cluster of cases in Wadi Al Dawasir since Monday (see Saudi MOH Reports 3 MERS Cases (1 Hospital Acquired).
While details were limited, that cluster appeared to involve two people close in age, from the same town (possibly a household cluster), and a third hospital acquired (patient) case.
The report of the 10th adds 3 more hospital acquired cases, and another household contact. Bringing the total number of cases from Wadi Al Dawasir to 7 in less than a week. Today's (March 11th) update has not yet been posted on the MOH website.
As we discussed on Thursday in WHO EMRO: MERS-CoV Update For January-February 2017, KSA had not reported any hospital outbreaks during the first two months of 2017, although there were two nosocomial infections reported in January.
The number and size of large nosocomial MERS outbreaks was down markedly in 2016, with just two of real note; one in the spring and one in early summer (see graph below). Neither of which approached the scale of the largest outbreaks of 2015 and 2014.
While MERS continues to jump into the human population via camels, and we see sporadic community acquired cases pop up with no apparent risk exposure, the virus has historically thrived and spread best in hospital environments (see Saudi MOH: KKUH Hospital Outbreak As A `Superspreading' Event).
If the MOH publishes an update for today, I'll either amend this post or publish a new one.