MERS reports from the Saudi MOH has been more chaotic than usual the past couple of weeks, with sporadic site outages, daily reports announced out of order, days skipped, and some reports only issued in Arabic (see announcement list above).
Yesterday's report was similarly delayed, but we now have it - along with today's - and together they indicate some kind of hospital cluster in Wadi Al Dawasir.First yesterday's report of two cases - a male 31 (critical) and a female 32 (stable) - with both of their source of infection/exposure listed as `Under Review'.
Two cases in the same town, close in age, and both with their exposures `Under Review' suggests a cluster of some sort (possibly household), although we'll have to wait for confirmation.
Today's case - also from Wadi Al Dawasir - is far more definitive, listing a 48 y.o. female in critical condition as a `Secondary Hospital Acquired Patient'.
Saudi Arabia has managed to reduce the number of MERS cases dramatically over the past year primarily because they have had more success in controlling healthcare related outbreaks.
Sporadic primary (community acquired) cases continue to show up - some attributed to camel exposure, while others list no source - but hospital outbreaks have been fewer, and much smaller, than we've seen in the past..
That said, every nosocomial cluster poses a new and unique infection control challenge - and as we've seen previously in Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and the UAE - MERS can spread rapidly in a hospital environment if not quickly contained.
Hopefully we'll get some details on all of this from the WHO in the days to come.