Saudi Arabia's National IHR Focal Point holds meeting to detail current MERS-CoV spread

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) | Courtesy of Shutterstock

The National IHR Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recently informed the World Health Organization (WHO) that there are six new Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases in the area, as well as three deaths from the disease.

MERS-CoV is a severe human infection with high mortality rates. The virus transmits from human to human, typically inside health care settings. These new cases and deaths occurred from Feb. 1-16.

Since September 2012, the WHO has received notifications of 1,644 laboratory-confirmed MERS-CoV infections. These include approximately 590 deaths from the infections.

One of the patients was a man from Alkharj. He was 80 years old. He first showed symptoms on Feb. 6 and received hospitalization starting on Feb. 13. He had comorbidities. On Feb. 14, he tested positively for the virus. He died two days later.

The WHO has not changed its original risk assessment with the new case notifications. Instead, the organization estimates that further MERS-CoV infections will be confirmed throughout the Middle East.

The organization also expects cases to be transmitted to other nations because of people who contract the infection from animals, related products or other humans. The officials will monitor the situation and alter risk assessments as needed.

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