Saudi Arabia reports two more MERS cases
Saudi Arabia's health ministry today announced two more Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infections, one of which appears to be in a health worker with an asymptomatic infection who had contact with a confirmed case…
WHO: MERS not an international health emergency
December 5, 2013
The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus has not met the conditions for a public health emergency of international concern, according to a statement by WHO.
As of Dec. 2, there have been 163 confirmed cases of MERS and 71 deaths, according to WHO.
WHO calls for action on Mers following death in Abu Dhabi
December 5, 2013 Updated: December 5, 2013 12:27:00
ABU DHABI // More must be done to stop the spread of the deadly Mers coronavirus, the World Health Organisation has warned.
Countries must strengthen their surveillance, increase awareness and try to find out how people are infected, the WHO’s emergency committee said on Wednesday.
The call comes after a Mers-infected Jordanian mother in Abu Dhabi died shortly after giving birth to a daughter.
…The emergency committee has now met for a fourth time about Mers.
Scientists still do not know where it came from or how it is spreading.
…The next meeting is scheduled for March.
QATAR: Health officials allay fears over Mers outbreak
...The Mers-CoV has claimed four lives in Qatar since 2012 and the virus was also suspected in a total of 4,323 persons, whose samples were checked at the Hamad Medical Corporation’s Virology laboratory, explained SCH Surveillance and Outbreak section head Dr Hamad Eid al-Romaihi.
“It was the first time in Qatar that camels were linked to Mers-CoV infections and no new cases have so far been reported because we conducted a comprehensive epidemiological investigation into potential sources of exposure of human cases involved, with the support of an international team constituted by World Health Organisation (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO),” he said.
…“People need not panic as it is only established that camels can be a host of the virus that is already identified as an animal disease, but we are yet to verify whether it is being transmitted from humans to animals or from animals to humans,” Dr al-Hajri said while recalling that a case linking the disease with bats was diagnosed in Saudi Arabia.
Camels can be a host? I wonder what other animals can be a host for MERS?
Jordanian, Saudi camels have MERS-CoV-like antibodies
In one of two studies published in Eurosurveillance, Jordanian and European researchers reported that 11 of 11 camels tested in Jordan had MERS-CoV–like antibodies. Tests in goats, sheep, and cows were negative, with the exception of preliminary tests in six sheep, which were contradicted by further tests.
In the other study, another international team reported that 280 of 310 dromedary camels from various parts of Saudi Arabia had antibodies to MERS-CoV or a very similar virus, but further tests suggested that some of the results represented cross-reactions to bovine coronavirus (BCoV). Sheep, goats, cattle, and chickens all tested negative.
...[Saudi] Using a MERS-CoV pseudoparticle neutralization test, the authors found that 280 of 310 camels (90%) were seropositive, whereas all the other animals tested negative. The camel results differed by age: 47 of 65 (72%) of camels under 1 year old tested positive, compared with 233 of 245 (95%) of older camels. …these animals are getting infected within the first year of life...
MERS-COV CAUSE YET TO BE ASCERTAINED: WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that it’s not sure at this stage what type of contact with animals, or human behaviour results in the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection.
It has also said that in the absence of any evidence on how people acquire the infection and in view of limited knowledge on the disease and its transmission, it’s advisable that everyone should maintain good personal hygiene.
Nearly identical MERS-CoV strains found in camels, humans
Researchers today reported that dromedary camels on a farm in Qatar were infected with a strain of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) nearly identical to that found in two people associated with the farm. The findings point to an outbreak that involved both camels and humans, but they don't answer the key question of whether camels infected humans or the other way around.
…."We cannot conclude whether the people on the farm were infected by the camels or vice versa, or if a third source was responsible," the report says.
…'Strongly suggest cross-species transmission'
In an accompanying commentary, Neil M. Ferguson, DPhil, and Maria D. Van Kerhove, PhD, both of Imperial College London, wrote that the close similarity between the human and camel isolates "strongly suggests cross-species transmission, but present data do not inform on the direction of that transmission."
They comment that "the slow rate of growth of the underlying epidemic, whether in camels, human beings, or other reservoir species" represents "a particular paradox." Environmental contamination is one possibility that may explain "the persistence of MERS-CoV in the absence of an explosive epidemic."
Ferguson and Van Kerkhove observe that the virus can spread from person to person, but whether it can achieve sustained transmission is still unknown.
"If self-sustained transmission is not yet underway, intensive control and risk-reduction measures targeting affected animal species and their handlers might eliminate the virus from the human population," they wrote. "Conversely, if zoonotic exposure causes only a small fraction of human infections, then even intensive veterinary control efforts would have little effect on cases in people."
Mers-CoV: Pregnant Woman Dies after Delivery in UAE's First Virus Death
A woman in Abu Dhabi has died after giving birth to a baby by caesarean section after being diagnosed with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (Mers-CoV).
The World Health Organisation confirmed three additional cases of the virus in the United Arab Emirates - the woman's husband and eight-year-old son were also diagnosed with the disease.
…None of the family members have travel history, contact with a known confirmed case or any contact with animals. Further investigations into close contacts of the family are ongoing.
Saudi Arabia Reports Two More MERS Coronavirus Cases, Virus Confirmed In Dromedary Camels
Saudi Arabian health officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of an additional two laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), according to a WHO news release today.
According to the release, the cases are as follows:
The first case is a 51 year-old female from Saudi Arabia, living in Jawf province with onset of symptoms on 20 November 2013. She has underlying chronic disease and was transferred to Riyadh for treatment in an intensive care unit. She had no reported contact with animals. The epidemiological investigation is ongoing. The second case is a 26 year-old female who is a non-Saudi healthcare worker in Riyadh. She is asymptomatic. She had reported contact with a 37 year-old male laboratory confirmed case that was reported to WHO on 21 November 2013.
This brings the global total of confirmed MERS-CoV cases to 165, including 71 fatalities.
Saudi Reports 4 New Cases Of MERS Virus, 1 Fatal
The new infections bring the worldwide total of confirmed cases to 170 with 72 deaths, the WHO said.
Four more people in Saudi Arabia have been infected with the SARS-like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus and one of them – an elderly man – has died, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday.
The new infections, including in two health workers from Riyadh who have not reported any adverse symptoms, bring the worldwide total of confirmed cases of the respiratory disease to 170 with 72 deaths, the United Nations health agency said.
MERS first emerged in the Middle East in September 2012 and is from the same family as the SARS virus, can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia.
Cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Tunisia as well as in several countries in Europe…
Six New Cases Of MERS Virus Hit Saudi Arabia, UAE
The total confirmed cases of the respiratory disease has reached 176, of which 74 have died, the WHO said.
MERS and H7N9: A Tale of Two Outbreaks
…H7N9 cases dropped off sharply over the summer and rose again in the fall. Meanwhile, MERS cases have continued, most of them in Saudi Arabia but with a few in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
… MERS was first identified in Saudi Arabia in September 2012, about 170 people have caught it, and around 75 of them have died of it.
Meanwhile, between the first announcement on H7N9 on March 31 and December 20, the European Centre for Disease Control reports 147 confirmed cases and 47 deaths.
Those are negligible numbers. You are more likely to win the lottery than to contract either disease. But health workers worry about them, partly because they both kill a high proportion of those infected: roughly 44 per cent with MERS and 32 per cent with H7N9.
Those are not negligible numbers, and if either virus figures out how to jump effectively from human to human, it could become the next Spanish flu. The new diseases are therefore useful as tests of the global health system, …
…The Chinese have reported every case of H7N9 since last spring, including a recent seasonal surge of cases that even turned up in Hong Kong. They have also flooded research journals with hundreds of scientific papers on the virus, and even published a risk analysis in one Chinese journal saying H7N9 could trigger a new pandemic. Regional papers often provide details on local cases that don't get covered in national news reports.
Thanks to this openness, the world scientific community has learned a lot about H7N9, including the frustrating fact that it hardly bothers poultry at all.
…Meanwhile, the Saudis have been telling the world as little as possible though MERS has even worse potential.
…almost two years after the first MERS cases, we still have no idea how people contract this disease. We know that camels and other livestock carry antibodies to it, and it seems to be originally a bat virus, but just how humans contract MERS (except from one another) remains a mystery.
…Governments and international health agencies may fear epidemics and pandemics, but what they really dread is political embarrassment. To avoid that awful outcome, they will shrug off any number of deaths. As German physician and politician Rudolf Virchow observed long ago, "Medicine is a social science, and politics is nothing else but medicine on a large scale."
Sometimes it is medical malpractice on a very, very large scale.
UAE reports new Mers virus case
The UAE has reported a new case of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus, this time a 33 year-old male healthcare worker in Dubai, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
…Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a total of 177 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 74 deaths.