WHO's EMRO (Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office) has released their latest monthly summary of global MERS cases, showing 14 cases for September. All but one of these cases - a traveler from Kuwait in South Korea - were reported by Saudi Arabia.
While the number of cases reported by Saudi Arabia this year is down over previous years - September with 13 cases (6 fatal) - represents the highest monthly total since May and the highest number of fatalities reported since February.
Starting in 2016, we began to see a marked reduction in the number of hospital acquired infections, presumably due to improvements in infection control.
However, last month - in Evaluation of a Visual Triage for the Screening of MERS-CoV Patients - we looked at what has been described as a serious flaw in their MERS surveillance program.
The latest summary from WHO reads:
- At the end of September 2018, a total of 2260 laboratory-conﬁrmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), including 803 associated deaths (case–fatality rate: 35.5%) were reported globally; the majority of these cases were reported from Saudi Arabia (1882 cases, including 729 related deaths with a case–fatality rate of 38.7%).
- During the month of September, a total of 14 laboratory-conﬁrmed cases of MERS were reported globally; 13 laboratory-conﬁrmed cases were reported in Saudi Arabia, including 6 associated deaths, and 1 laboratory-conﬁrmed case was reported in Republic of Korea. The cases from Saudi Arabia included ﬁve secondary infections: two symptomatic household contacts and three hospital acquired infections.
- The demographic and epidemiological characteristics of reported cases, when compared during the same corresponding period of 2013 to 2018, do not show any signiﬁcant difference or change. Owing to improved infection prevention and control practices in hospitals, the number of hospital-acquired cases of MERS has dropped signiﬁcantly since 2015.
- The age group 50–59 years continues to be at highest risk for acquiring infection of primary cases. The age group 30–39 years is most at risk for secondary cases. The number of deaths is higher in the age group 50–59 years for primary cases and 70–79 years for secondary cases.