Wednesday, May 23, 2018

EMRO MERS-CoV Summary - April


We are now just over a week into the Holy Month of Ramadan, which is second only to the Hajj in seeing religious pilgrims visiting the Holy sites of Saudi Arabia, and daily reporting from the Saudi MOH - which has been increasingly erratic the past few months - hasn't been updated since May 15th (see below).

Screen shot taken today

Missing also this month are reports for the 8th, 9th & 10th. The confirmed number of cases at the top of the page (1622+64 cases) are more than 6 months out of date (WHO reported 1831 cases as of end of April).

The World Health Organization hasn't posted a Saudi MERS-CoV DON Report (with case line listing) since January 26th (current through Jan 17th). This is (by far) the longest gap between MERS WHO DON reports since the virus was first announced in September of 2012.

Over the past week the Saudi MOH had appeared to be in the process ofredesigning their website, and until this morning, all data since the last week of January has been missing. 
They seem to have - at least temporarily - restored the old format.  Or at least some of it, as only the most recent page of daily reports appears to be accessible. 
Aside from the increasingly erratic postings by the Saudis, the only other MERS data we've seen has come from the WHO EMRO (Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office) monthly summary, which is based on reporting by the the Saudi MOH. 
As noted previously (see A Curious EMRO MERS-CoV Update - March), the numbers reported by EMRO don't necessarily match those posted by the Saudi MOH.
In any event, we have the EMRO report for the month of April (see below), which reports a total of 7 cases reported by the Saudis during that time period.

MERS situation update, April 2018
 Highlights, April 2018
  • At the end of April 2018, a total of 2206 laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), including 787 associated deaths (case–fatality rate: 35.7%) were reported globally; the majority of these cases were reported from Saudi Arabia (1831 cases, including 713 related deaths with a case–fatality rate of 39%).
  • During the month of April, a total of 7 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS were reported in Saudi Arabia including 2 associated deaths (case-fatality rate: 28.6%). No healthcare associated transmission or hospital outbreak was reported during this month.
  • The demographic and epidemiological characteristics of cases do not show any significant difference when compared to cases reported during the same corresponding period of 2013 to 2018. 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 the highest risk for acquiring infection as 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.
Meanwhile - despite the ongoing frustration over the lack of current and accurate numbers - the good news is we've seen no signs of any sustained or efficient transmission of the MERS virus outside of health care facilities.