After an unusually active spring, MERS reports have dropped over the summer, and we've not seen one reported by the Saudi MOH since late August (see Saudi MOH Epi Week 35 report).
While this drop in activity is welcomed, over the past year we've seen a number of studies that have called into question our ability to identify mildly symptomatic, asymptomatic, or atypically presenting MERS infections in the community.
A few of those studies include:
J. Korean Med Sci: Atypical Presentation Of A MERS Case In A Returning Traveler From KuwaitAnd just over a year ago - 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 Saudi Arabia's MERS surveillance program.
mBio: High Prevalence of MERS-CoV Infection in Camel Workers in Saudi Arabia
AJIC:Intermittent Positive Testing For MERS-CoV
JIDC: Atypical Presentation Of MERS-CoV In A Lebanese Patient
Once a month the WHO's EMRO (Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office) provides a summary of MERS activity in the Middle East - and around the world - based on what is officially reported by individual Ministries of Health to the World Health Organization.
WHO EMRO reports 6 new MERS Cases - all from Saudi Arabia - during the month of August. Among these, two cases were part of a household cluster.Details of the August summary report follow:
- At the end of August 2019, a total of 2468 laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), including 850 associated deaths (case–fatality rate: 34.4%) were reported globally; the majority of these cases were reported from Saudi Arabia (2073 cases, including 772 related deaths with a case–fatality rate of 37.2%).
- During the month of August, a total of 6 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS were reported globally. All the 6 cases were reported from Saudi Arabia with 1 associated death. Two of the cases reported had their the symptom onset in the previous month of July, and one of the reported cases in July died. One household cluster of two cases was reported this month. All the reported cases were between 49 and 71 years of age and four them were male. No healthcare workers were affected this month.
- The demographic and epidemiological characteristics of reported cases, when compared during the same corresponding period of 2014 to 2019, do not show any significant difference or change. The number of cases reported in this period was similar to 2018, but significantly less than the 2014-2017 corresponding period.
- The age group 50–59 years continues to be at the 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.
- Read the latest MERS update for August 2019
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