26 June 2013 - The Ministry of Health (MoH) in Saudi Arabia has announced seven additional laboratory-confirmed cases and a death in a previously confirmed case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
Four cases have been detected among contacts of confirmed
cases in Riyadh and the Eastern Region. They range in age from seven to
15 years, and all were asymptomatic. Two further asymptomatic cases have
been record among female healthcare workers in the Eastern Region and
Al-Ahsa. A seventh case has been detected in a 50 year-old female in the
Eastern Region. She is currently hospitalized with pulmonary disease
and her condition is considered stable.
In addition, the MoH has announced the death of a previously
reported confirmed case from the Eastern Region (the 32 year-old male
first reported on 23 June).
Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed
of a total of 77 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV,
including 40 deaths.
WHO has received reports of laboratory-confirmed cases
originating in the following countries in the Middle East to date:
Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). France,
Germany, Italy, Tunisia and the United Kingdom also reported
laboratory-confirmed cases; they were either transferred there for care
of the disease or returned from the Middle East and subsequently became
ill. In France, Italy, Tunisia and the United Kingdom, there has been
limited local transmission among patients who had not been to the Middle
East but had been in close contact with the laboratory-confirmed or
Based on the current situation and available information, WHO
encourages all Member States to continue their surveillance for severe
acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to carefully review any unusual
Health care providers are advised to maintain vigilance.
Recent travellers returning from the Middle East who develop SARI should
be tested for MERS-CoV as advised in the current surveillance
recommendations. Specimens from patients’ lower respiratory tracts
should be obtained for diagnosis where possible. Clinicians are reminded
that MERS-CoV infection should be considered even with atypical signs
and symptoms, such as diarrhoea, in patients who are immunocompromised.
Health care facilities are reminded of the importance of
systematic implementation of infection prevention and control (IPC).
Health care facilities that provide care for patients suspected or
confirmed with MERS-CoV infection should take appropriate measures to
decrease the risk of transmission of the virus to other patients, health
care workers and visitors.
All Member States are reminded to promptly assess and notify
WHO of any new case of infection with MERS-CoV, along with information
about potential exposures that may have resulted in infection and a
description of the clinical course. Investigation into the source of
exposure should promptly be initiated to identify the mode of exposure,
so that further transmission of the virus can be prevented.
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.
WHO continues to closely monitor the situation.