The United Nations' World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday the National IHR Focal Point of Saudi Arabia has informed it of two laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the country.
The first patient is a 36-year-old man who lives in Almakhwah city and works as a truck driver. The patient is currently in a stable condition with underlying medical conditions. He was tested positive to MERS-CoV on June 11.
The UN agency said the patient is reported to have possible contacts with animals as he delivers hay to a mixed animal market. He has had no contact with a known laboratory confirmed MERS-CoV case.
The second patient is a 33-year-old man, who is a resident of Qunfudah city in Qunfudah Region and works as a national security guard. The patient is asymptomatic, and was detected through the screening of contacts of previously laboratory-confirmed MERS-CoV cases. He was tested positive to MERS-CoV on June 13. The patient has a history of frequent travel to Jeddah. He has no history of contact with animals.
From September 2012 to date, the WHO has been informed of a total of 701 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV globally, including 249 deaths.
The WHO has urged all Member-States to continue 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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