The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday it has been informed of an additional laboratory-confirmed case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection in Saudi Arabia.
The patient was a 56-year-old woman from Saudi Arabia's Eastern Region, who became ill on October 26 and died on October 30. She had no contact with animals, but had contact with a previously laboratory confirmed case.
The UN agency said it has now been informed of a total of 150 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infections globally since September 2012, including 58 deaths.
Based on the current situation and available information, WHO urged all Member-States to continue their surveillance for Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI) and carefully review any unusual patterns.
Urging health care providers to remain vigilant, the UN health agency stressed that recent travelers returning from the Middle East who develop SARI should be tested for MERS-CoV as advised in the current surveillance recommendations.
The agency stressed on the importance of systematic implementation of infection prevention and control, and urged facilities to decrease the risk of transmission of MERS-CoV virus to other patients, health care workers and visitors.
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause a range of ailments from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which became an epidemic in 2003. The virus could be transmitted between people in close and prolonged contact. The sources of infection for the new coronavirus are still unclear.
France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and the United Kingdom have also reported laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infections. Those patients were either transferred there for care of the disease or returned from the Middle East and subsequently became ill.
by RTT Staff Writer
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