The recent uptick in MERS cases in Saudi Arabia we've been following since the first of the year (see here, here, and here) continues with yesterday's update (posted sometime overnight) showing 3 more primary cases (with no known risk exposure).
In the first 11 days of January Saudi Arabia has already reported 12 MERS cases. Three have been linked to recent camel exposure, while 8 are primary (community acquired), and 1 was a secondary HCW exposure.Also in these opening days of January, with this latest report the MOH has announced 8 deaths, and zero recoveries. The most recent death is of a 28 y.o. male from Afif who was first reported on December 25th to be in stable condition.
This is the second initially-stable-to-expired case reported by the MOH in the past 3 days. Details on the three new primary cases can be found in the chart below.
These primary community acquired cases (with no known risk exposure) are worrisome - since their origins are unclear - but are so far widely scattered across the Kingdom. With the exception of a few large outbreaks inside healthcare facilities, we've yet to see MERS spark any robust or sustained chains of transmission.
That said, MERS - like all viruses - is continually evolving, and so we keep a close watch on its behavior, looking for any signs of change.