|Credit KSA MOH|
As noted in recent blogs, MERS updates from the Saudi MOH have been a bit erratic the past few weeks, with some reports posted 1 or 2 days after the fact.
Yesterday afternoon they belatedly posted their June 2nd update (see Crof's blog post), announcing 3 asymptomatic HCWs in Riyadh (likely contacts of Friday's Primary MERS Case In Riyadh), and 1 symptomatic hospital visitor in Jeddah (which announced a case last Thursday).
This morning they posted two more updates in quick succession - one for yesterday June 3rd, and today's June 4th report - adding 6 more cases. Five in Riyadh and one in Jeddah.
Here, instead of asymptomatic cases, we have 2 fatal cases and 1 in critical condition reported from Riyadh. One is hospital acquired, 1 had camel contact, and the third is under investigation.
Lastly, we have today's report, with three additional cases. Two more asymptomatic (1 HCW, 1 patient) in Riyadh, and a camel-associated case from Madina, their second MERS case in a week.
MERS case reports out of KSA have been only moderate this year, with a steady trickle of community acquired cases (roughly 15 a month), punctuated by occasional small hospital clusters.
Eleven cases in 4 days represents a pretty good uptick.
The holy month of Ramadan began on Friday, May 26th, and runs until June 24th. During this time hundreds of thousands of religious pilgrims will visit the Holy sites in Saudi Arabia - primarily in Mecca and Madina - before returning home.
While Saudi Arabia has thus far managed to avoid any large scale outbreaks during either the Hajj or Ramadan, this June uptick in cases will be something to keep our eyes on.