After a very active June where nearly 50 MERS cases were reported in Saudi Arabia, the number of MERS cases last month in the Middle East dropped to just 6 (5 in KSA, 1 in UAE).
The three-hospital nosocomial outbreak in Riyadh, which contributed the bulk of June's cases was brought under control in the middle of June.With the start of this year's Hajj just 3 weeks away, any drop in the the number of active MERS cases in Saudi Arabia is a welcome trend. While always a concern, MERS is not the only potential health threat for this annual gathering of 2 to 3 million religious pilgrims.
The CDC provides travel advice for those attending either Hajj or Umrah in Saudi Arabia, once again this year urging Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions.
Meanwhile, the WHO's EMRO July MERS update (below) provides an excellent graphical update and representation of MERS, with both historical information, and a focus on recent cases and clusters.Follow the link to read or download the full report.
- At the end of July 2017, a total of 2045 laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), including 733 deaths (case–fatality rate: 35.8%) were reported globally; the majority of these cases were reported from Saudi Arabia (1676 laboratory-confirmed cases, including 659 deaths with a case–fatality rate of 39.3%).
- During the month of July 2017, 6 laboratory-confirmed cases were reported globally, including one case reported in United Arab Emirates, with 3 deaths. No health-care associated transmission or hospital outbreak was reported during this month. No new cases were reported from the 3 simultaneous hospital outbreaks reported from 3 different hospitals in Riyadh city, Riyadh Region during the months of May and June 2017. The date of reporting of last laboratory-confirmed case from these clusters was 17 June 2017, and the interval period until the end of July 2017 is more than the double of the incubation period form MERS, we can say that these hospital outbreaks are over.
- The demographic and epidemiological characteristics of the cases reported in 2017 do not show any significant difference compared with cases reported during the same period from 2012 to 2016. Owing to improved infection prevention and control practices in the hospitals, the number of hospital-acquired cases of MERS has dropped significantly in 2015 and in 2016 compared to previous years.
- The age group of those aged 50–59 years continues to be the group at highest risk for acquiring infection as primary cases. For secondary cases, it is the age group of 30–39 years who are mostly at risk. The number of deaths is higher in the age group of 50–59 years for primary cases and 70–79 years for secondary cases.