The United Nations' World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday that 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 42 year old resident of Jeddah city in the Mecca Region who was laboratory-confirmed with MERS-CoV on June 16 . His condition deteriorated and died on June 18 . The patient is reported not to have had contact with a laboratory-confirmed case with MERS-CoV.
WHO said the patient neither had a history of recent travel nor a history of contact with animals.
The second case pertains to 58 year old resident of Riyadh city who was also laboratory-confirmed with MERS-CoV on June 15. The patient is currently in a stable condition. He had traveled to Mecca on May 31 and traveled from there to Egypt on June 3.
WHO said the patient did not have a history of contact with a previously laboratory-confirmed case with MERS-CoV or 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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