Sunday, February 11, 2018

Saudi MOH: Mismatching MERS Reports

Arabic MERS Report - Feb 9th, 2018


The Saudi MOH generally publishes two sets of MERS reports each day, one in Arabic, and the other in English. Both versions are posted in graphic format (.jpg), making machine translation from Arabic into English problematic.
Reports in either language have become increasingly intermittent of late, with a recent 9-day gap in reporting (Jan 30th-Feb 8th), broken just three days ago (see Saudi MOH Updates Their MERS List).
Most of the time, these daily reports match. But sometimes - like for Feb 9th - an update appears on the Arabic surveillance page, but not the English page.

This Arabic reports appears to cite a new primary MERS cases Riyadh province, with no camel contact noted. Two recoveries and no deaths were also reported for the 9th. Although the English page has already posted a Feb 10th entry (no new cases), perhaps they will back fill this data at some point.
As mentioned by Crof yesterday, there have been murmurs on Arabic social media for several days regarding a suspected hospital outbreak in Hafar Al-Batin. 
We've seen these types of rumors before, and sometimes they pan out, while other times we never see them officially confirmed. Apparently driving these rumors, however, is this (translated) report citing 4 MERS cases and the closing of a Hafr Al-Batin hospital, which appeared on Feb 7th in the Alyaum Saudi Daily Newspaper.

The death of a citizen and wounding three Mkhaltin b «Corona» in the drilling sub

«Health» has taken precautionary measures to counter the virus (today)
Manis Al Shehhi - Hafr Al Baten

The Directorate of Health Affairs in Hafr al-Batin closed Tuesday a conservative hospital after a 67-year-old citizen died of the Corona virus and three others were injured in the hospital.

The statement of the Ministry of Health, which was followed by «Today» that the closure of the hospital was a precaution after monitoring deficiencies in infection control procedures, and after the verification of the death of a 67-year-old citizen of the Corona virus, noting that the citizen has chronic diseases, After he was summoned for treatment.

The statement pointed to the formation of a specialized medical committee to verify the infection control procedures in the private hospital, and monitored the shortcomings in their application. This led to the issuance of a decision to close it with a precaution. The procedures of the epidemiological investigation of the private hospital patients, And to adopt the protocol used in such cases, in addition to the fact that suspicious cases are being ascertained and monitored to ensure their safety.

The Ministry of Health reassured everyone, stressing that there are strict measures to control the Corona virus, and prevent the spread of infection in hospitals according to the methods used.

Other than the one case from Riyadh province on the 9th, the Saudi MOH has not announced any new MERS cases since the 28th of January, and the last case reported to the WHO from Hafr Al-Batin was in March of 2017.

All of which means we'll have to wait for either an official statement from the MOH, or the next WHO Update, to discover whether any of these rumors are true.

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