Sunday, March 25, 2018

Saudi MOH Announces 4 New MERS-CoV Cases


After going 4 days without posting an update, the Saudi MOH announced 4 new MERS cases reported between the 21st and 24th.  

On the 21st, they report a single case, involving a 67 y.o. Saudi male in stable condition from Najran (near the Yemen border), with recent contact with camels.

On the 23rd, they report on a 64 y.o. Expat male from Riyadh - a `primary' case with no known risk exposure - who is listed in critical condition.

And for the 24th, they report two cases.

  • A 44 y.o. Expat male from Hufoof - another `primary' case with no known risk exposure - who is listed in critical condition.  
  • And the third `secondary household contact' reported in the past two weeks from a household cluster in Jeddah; a 41 y.o. female Saudi who is listed in stable condition.

While clusters of MERS cases have only been observed in health care facilities (and to a lesser extent, households), we see a substantial number of sporadic `primary' or  community acquired cases with no apparent risk (camel, medical facility, or patient) exposure.
Exactly how these community acquired cases arise remains a bit of a mystery, although sporadic community transmission from mildly ill or asymptomatic carriers is considered a possibility.
While MERS doesn't yet appear ready for prime time -  a recent study (see A Pandemic Risk Assessment Of MERS-CoV In Saudi Arabia) published in the  Saudi Journal Of Biological Sciences - suggested the virus wouldn't need to gain a whole lot more transmissibility to become a genuine pandemic threat.

Which is why we continue to monitor these cases closely for any signs of change.

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