Thursday, August 8, 2013

NEJM: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Infections in Health Care Workers

[editing below is mine]

New England Journal of Medicine
August 7, 2013DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc1308698

To The Editor:

We recently identified seven health care workers with MERS-CoV infection (two of whom were asymptomatic and five of whom had mild upper respiratory tract symptoms) through screening of single sample nasopharyngeal swabs by means of a real-time reverse-transcriptase–polymerase-chain-reaction (RT-PCR) amplification test, with amplification targeting both the upstream E protein gene (upE) and open reading frame 1a (ORF1a) for confirmation. A patient was confirmed as having MERS-CoV infection if both assays were positive.
All the infected nurses were women, and all had previously been healthy except for one who had diabetes. Two had asymptomatic cases of MERS-CoV infection, one had only a runny nose, and four reported mild symptoms. They did not require treatment, recovered fully within a week, and remained healthy on follow-up. On daily follow-up PCR testing, six of seven tested positive for MERS-CoV on day 2 and negative on day 3; one remained positive until day 8. There was no history of exposure to animals or to persons with MERS-CoV infection in the community, and no subsequent cases of MERS-CoV were associated with these seven health care workers.
Ziad A. Memish, M.D.
Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Alimuddin I. Zumla, Ph.D.
University College London, London, United Kingdom
Abdullah Assiri, M.D.
Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
5 References

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