The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday that the health ministries of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have informed it of deaths due to infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), one in each country.
The fatality in Saudi Arabia was a 26 year-old man from Jeddah, who took ill on March 22 and was hospitalized on March 23. Nevertheless, he died on April 6.
In addition, Saudi Arabia also reported two more laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with MERS-CoV, one a 77 year-old man and the other a 59-year-old man. They are from the Riyadh region, and both of them are not known to have a history of exposure to animals.
According to WHO, the fatality in UAE was a 64 year-old man from Abu Dhabi with underlying medical conditions. He took ill on March 21 and died on March 30. He had underlying medical conditions. He did not have contact with a previously laboratory-confirmed case, but has had exposure to animals.
From September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a total of 211 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV globally, including 88 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.
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.
by RTT Staff Writer
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