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Two people have died of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in southern Saudi Arabia, Saudi’s Ministry of Health has reported.
One of the victims was a man in his 60s from Mahayil Asir while the other was a man in his 70s, Saudi Gazette reported.
In a report late last month, the World Health Organisation confirmed that the kingdom reported 10 additional MERS cases between December 6-13 including two fatalities.
They include – a 72-year-old man in Taif city; a 64-year-old woman in Buridah city, Qassim; a 59-year-old man in Mahayl Assir city; a 49-year-old man in Jeddah; a 53-year-old male man in Riyadh; a 24-year-old man in Hofouf city, Al Ahssa; a 78-year-old man in Riyadh; and a 58-year-old man in Afif city, Riyadh.
The victims include a 60-year-old man in Mahayl Assir city and a 56-year-old man in Riyadh city, WHO stated.
Globally, since September 2012, WHO has been notified of 1,864 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV including at least 659 related deaths.
The Gulf countries have been seeing a seasonal surge in the number of MERS infections during the early part of the year, a trend that has worried health experts.
However, the number of deaths caused by MERS has comparatively reduced due to increased vigilance from the region’s health officials.
Saudi Arabia has replaced its health ministers twice since the outbreak of the disease in 2012. Health authorities in the kingdom have also urged residents to refrain from consuming camel meat or milk over fears of the disease spreading.
MERS, a virus similar to SARS, is a respiratory disease that causes coughing, fever and breathing problems, and can lead to pneumonia and kidney failure.
The virus is known to be contracted through exposure to infected individuals, from hospitals and by direct contact with camels – believed to be carriers of the virus.
There is no cure or vaccine for MERS, which kills around 40 per cent of its victims.
Courtesy of gulfbusiness.com
Thai authorities have quarantined at least 32 people in the city of Bangkok in a bid to prevent the spread of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus after a carrier of the strain was discovered in the Thai capital on Friday.
The MERS carrier was reported to be a 71-year-old man from the Gulf state of Oman, a neighbor to Saudi Arabia where the virus is the most prevalent and was first identified four years ago.
Thai officials said that dozens of people had been quarantined after coming into contact with the man, U.S.-based business publication Quartz reported, including the man’s son, hotel workers, plane passengers and taxi drivers.
This is a much lower number than in South Korea, which quarantined 17,000 people last year after one person infected 186 others, killing 36 of them.
The man himself has been transferred to the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Disease Institute in the greater Bangkok metro area.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) figures as of January 8, 1,277 cases of MERS have been reported in Saudi Arabia since the virus was discovered in 2012. The virus has killed 586 people since, representing 36 percent of all reported patients.
“The new case of MERS is a reminder of the continued risk of importation of the disease from countries where it still persists,” said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director for the WHO in Southeast Asia, in a statement on Sunday.
“All countries need to further enhance surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections, focus on early diagnosis, and step up infection prevention and control procedures in healthcare facilities to rapidly detect any case of importation and effectively prevent its spread.”
MERS is a respiratory disease and is spread through the transmission of saliva or when people cough or sneeze. Camels can also spread the virus and people with conditions such as kidney disease are vulnerable to infection in hospitals where MERS patients are being treated.
Courtesy of europe.newsweek.com
An Omani man has been placed in quarantine in Thailand after testing positive for the potentially deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, Thai health ministry officials said on Sunday.
The 71-year-old man arrived in Bangkok on a flight from Oman on Friday night and was subsequently tested in two hospitals before being transferred to an infectious diseases specialist facility and isolated from other patients, Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, Thailand’s public health minister, said.
A relative who was travelling with him was also placed in quarantine.
The ministry is now trying to locate all persons still in Thailand who had contact with the patient, including 218 crew members and passengers on the flight from Oman, a taxi driver, a hotel employee and 30 hospital staff.
Of these, 36 individuals besides the patient’s relative are considered at high risk of contracting the disease due to close contact with him.
They include 23 passengers on the flight, the taxi driver and the hotel employee, as well as 11 hospital staff.
The patient had been treated at a hospital in Oman for a week for fever and a cough, Sakolsatayadorn said.
Thailand had confirmed its first case of MERS in June last year, when another elderly man from Oman tested positive.
He was treated at the infectious diseases institute for several weeks before being declared clear of the virus and allowed to leave Thailand.
Thailand is a common destination for so-called “health tourism,” and after the case last year the health ministry threatened some private hospitals with legal action following reports that they had sent Middle Eastern patients suspected of being infected with MERS to a government-run infectious disease centre in a taxi.
It warned that such transfers were against disease control protocols.
The government also introduced new measures for the estimated 10,000 Thai Muslims who undertook the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in September, including vaccinations for flu and yellow fever before their travels and monitoring for up to a month upon return.
MERS is an acute viral respiratory disease caused by a coronavirus, with symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath and often pneumonia.
More than two dozen countries have reported cases of MERS, including the US, Britain, France, Germany and South Korea, where an outbreak killed more than 35 people last year.
The virus had a fatality rate of more than 40 percent in Saudi Arabia where it was first discovered in 2012.
Courtesy of middleeasteye.net
Saudi Arabia reported Sunday six new cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome, the latest sign of a spreading viral disease ahead of an annual religious pilgrimage that brings millions of visitors to the country.
The surging number of cases—the largest since the peak of the last MERS outbreak in the summer of 2014—comes as Saudi Arabia prepares to welcome next month more than two million pilgrims to the Muslim holy city of Mecca for the annual hajj pilgrimage.
In addition, the threat of the viral disease spreading could increase as more than 5 million Saudi students resume school on Sunday after summer vacation.
“The Ministry of Health is working at full capacity to contain the current outbreak of the virus,” health minister Khalid al-Falih said Saturday on Twitter.
Abdulaziz bin Said, undersecretary for public health, said Sunday that infection control teams are now providing around the clock support to emergency wards at Riyadh hospitals.
MERS is a virus that can cause breathing problems, fever, pneumonia and kidney failure. It belongs to the same family of viruses as the common cold and SARS, which spread in Hong Kong and southern China in 2002 and 2003.
The kingdom is considering a ban on the practice of sacrificing camels and sharing their meat with the poor during hajj, a measure meant to stop the spread of the virus, which is believed to have begun by passing from infected camels to humans.
Saudi Arabia has been criticized in the past for what international health organizations called a slow and inadequate response leading to multiple outbreaks.
Since it first appeared in Saudi Arabia in 2012, the virus has infected 1,147 people, killing 487, according to the Saudi health ministry.
The focal point of the current outbreak, which began earlier this month, remains King Abdulaziz Medical City of the National Guard in Riyadh, the Saudi capital. The hospital’s emergency ward and outpatient clinics remained closed Sunday following the infection of a number of its workers and patients.
It has taken measures to limit the spread of the virus, postponing non emergency surgeries and slashing visitation hours. Hospital staff were told by the health ministry to delay any travel out of Riyadh for the next two weeks as a precautionary measure.
An expert from the World Health Organization is scheduled to arrive in the kingdom this week to meet with Saudi officials and assess the latest spike in infections.
Saudi health officials have said that the frequency of reported cases declined in 2014, after new measures were taken to fight the spread of MERS, including stricter enforcement of standard infection control procedures. Yet four health ministers have been replaced since 2012.
The World Health Organization said on Friday that it is monitoring the situation, but that it hasn’t placed any travel or trade restrictions on Saudi Arabia because of the disease.
South Korea was the latest country to report a major outbreak of MERS. Korean authorities declared its outbreak finished in July, after 186 people were infected, 36 killed and more than 16,000 quarantined.
Courtesy of wsj.com
A Saudi medical official says authorities have temporarily closed an emergency ward in one of the kingdom’s largest hospitals after at least 46 people, including hospital staff, contracted the potentially fatal Middle East respiratory syndrome, also known as MERS.
Dr. Hanan Balkhi says that of that of the 46 infected at King Abdulaziz Medical City in the capital, Riyadh, 15 were medical staff.
Thursday’s statement says the ward will remain closed for two weeks and that the patients are being transferred to other hospitals.
Before the latest report, Saudi Health Ministry said that 480 people have died of the coronavirus since it was first identified in 2012.
A ministry statement Wednesday said about 1,115 cases have been registered nationwide. Of those, 590 have recovered and the rest are being treated.
Courtesy of startribune.com
A nurse in South Korea’s capital city tested positive for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus on Friday, authorities said.(READ: MERS toll reaches 32 in South Korea )
The 24-year-old nurse at the Samsung Medical Centre here became the 184th patient as she contracted the virus while treating patients at an isolated hospital ward, Xinhua news agency quoted the health ministry as saying.No new MERS cases were identified for three days till Wednesday, but a case each was added on Thursday and Friday. The toll due to the virus is 33.
Seven more patients were discharged from hospitals, taking the total number of discharge patients to 109.The number of those quarantined decreased from 2,247 on Thursday to 2,076 on Friday.
Courtesy of india.com
South Korea on Sunday reported its 32nd death from MERS as the virus’s mortality rate continued to rise even as the pace of the outbreak appeared to slow.
A 55-year-old man died Saturday of Middle East Respiratory Disease, the health ministry said, putting the latest mortality rate at 17.5 percent.
That is up from 15 percent a week ago and 10 percent two weeks ago, though still lower than World Health Organization figures which put the mortality rate for the disease at around 36 percent.
The man was diagnosed on June 9 after contracting the virus at Samsung Medical Centre in Seoul — the epicentre of the outbreak where about 90 patients, visitors and medical staff had been infected.
The total number of infections remained unchanged at 182 and fifteen patients were in critical condition, the health ministry said.
A total of 91 patients have recovered and been released from hospital, including one on Saturday, according to the ministry.
As of Sunday, a total of 2,562 people were under quarantine either at state facilities or at home, it added.
The outbreak started on May 20 when a 68-year-old man was diagnosed after returning from a trip to Saudi Arabia.
Since then the potentially deadly virus — for which there is no vaccine — has spread at an unusually rapid pace in the Asia’s fourth-largest economy, becoming the largest outbreak outside Saudi Arabia and sparking public alarm at home and elsewhere in Asia.
South Korea’s government is facing criticism for failing to stop the outbreak.
Courtesy of indiatimes.com
South Korea reported two MERS fatalities and three new cases, taking the country’s death toll to 27 in the largest outbreak of the virus outside Saudi Arabia.
The two men – aged 84 and 87 – died from Sunday night to Monday morning of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, the health ministry said, adding both had been battling cancer.
They were infected at Samsung Medical Center in Seoul and Daecheong hospital in the western city of Daejeon and were diagnosed on June 9 and 12, respectively.
The ministry also reported three more cases of the disease to bring the total number of those infected to 172, including 27 who have died.
The three included two patients at Samsung hospital and Konkuk University Medical Centre in Seoul and one caregiver at Daecheong hospital.
Samsung – a major hospital where more than 80 patients, families and medical workers have been infected – suspended most services on June 14 to stem the spread of the virus.
Fourteen patients were in critical condition, the ministry said, adding 50 people had recovered and were released from hospital so far, including seven from Saturday to Sunday.
The spread of the virus has slowed since the first two weeks of June, when the number of patients often grew by double digits including a daily record of 23 on June 7.
On Saturday the authorities reported no new cases for the first time in 16 days.
The outbreak began on May 20 when a 68-year-old man was diagnosed after returning from a trip to Saudi Arabia.
Since then the potentially deadly virus had spread at an unusually rapid pace, sparking public alarm that prompted the temporary closure of thousands of schools and trip cancellations by more than 120,000 foreign tourist.
Most schools have reopened except for five in Gyeonggi province surrounding Seoul, the southern port of Busan and the southeastern city of Daegu.
Courtesy of thestandard.com.hk
Health officials in Thailand have quarantined a man from Oman who was confirmed to have the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, as well as three family members who traveled with him that have not shown symptoms of the virus
The 75-year-old man is the first confirmed case of MERS in Thailand.
“We advise the public not to panic because the patient and his family members were separated since the beginning,” Public Health Minister Rajata Rajatanavin told reporters at a press conference. “Our system is ready and we are monitoring the cases closely.”
The man was going to Thailand for treatment for a heart condition. After being admitted to a hospital there for the heart condition, he began to have fatigue and trouble breathing. He’s being quarantined at the ministry of health’s infectious diseases facility. Officials are identifying all those who came in contact with him.
Thailand is the 26th country where MERS has been reported.Stephen Feller.
Courtesy of bignewsnetwork.com