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Saudi Arabia Reports Two New Cases Of MERS Infection

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) revealed Tuesday it has been informed of two additional laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Saudi Arabia.

The case pertains to a 58-year-old man from Al-Ahsa province, who took ill on February 2 and was hospitalized on February 4. He recovered from the infection and was discharged from hospital on February 24. The patient suffered from multiple chronic diseases, and was reported to have had contact with animals.

The second case is an 81 year-old woman from the Riyadh region. She had multiple underlying medical conditions, and was hospitalized on February 2. She developed symptoms of MERS on February 5 and died three days later. WHO said she had no reported contact with animals prior to falling ill.

From September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a total of 186 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV globally, including 81 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. WHO 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.

"WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event nor does it currently recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions," the press release read.

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.

The deadly Novel Coronavirus (NCoV) strain, recently renamed MERS-CoV, reflects the fact that most of the reported cases are from that region, mainly Saudi Arabia.

Nevertheless, 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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