Tag Archive | SARS virus

WHO to hold emergency talks on deadly MERS virus

MERS Virus Alert

The World Health Organisation said Friday it would hold an emergency meeting next week on the deadly MERS virus, amid concern over the rising number of cases in several countries.

The UN health agency will host the emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the worrying spread of the virus, which in less than two years has killed 126 people in Saudi Arabia alone, spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told reporters in Geneva.

The WHO’s emergency committee has already met four times to discuss the mysterious corona virus, which surfaced in mid-2012.

“The increase in the number of cases in different countries raises a number of questions,” Jasarevic said, without giving further details of the aim of the new talks.

The WHO experts will brief reporters at the end of the teleconferenced meeting on Tuesday evening, he said.

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus that broke out in Asia in 2003, infecting 8,273 people and killing nearly 800 of them.

Like SARS, it appears to cause a lung infection, with patients suffering from a temperature, coughing and breathing difficulties.

But it differs in that it also causes rapid kidney failure.

MERS virus kills a man in Jordan

MERS Virus Alert

A man has died in Jordan after being infected with the Mers virus, a media report said Tuesday, in the kingdom’s second fatality from the disease this year and fourth since 2012.

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the Sars virus that erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine per cent of whom died.

Jordan reported the first death from Mers in February, after two fatalities in 2012.

“The new death from the coronavirus was one of those infected with the virus who was 56 years old who was suffering from anaemia and pneumonia, and who had been hospitalised,” health ministry official Mohammad Abdullat was quoted as saying by state news agency Petra.

Mers emerged in 2012 and is mostly focused on Saudi Arabia, where it has killed 115 people, according to health officials there.

Saudi Arabia’s number of Mers infections has also reached 414, the world’s highest tally, the ministry reported.

There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments for Mers, a disease with a mortality rate of more than 40 per cent that experts are still struggling to understand.

Some research has suggested that camels are a likely source of the virus.

2,300 tubes containing SARS virus samples missing in France

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A major French biomedical research body, the Pasteur Institute, have launched an investigation into the disappearance of some 2,300 test tubes containing samples of the SARS virus. The loss was discovered during an inventory.
 
The Pasteur Institute filed a so-called ‘complaint against X’ on Monday over the lost SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) samples. According to French law, such complaints allow law enforcement agencies to investigate a certain case, without targeting specific individuals or companies.
 
The distinguished research body has also announced it has closed its P3 laboratory, where the samples of the potentially deadly virus were kept.

SARS-Like MERS Virus Spreads Among Health Care Workers

SARS

A sudden uptick in the SARS-like corona virus called MERS-CoVfor Middle Eastern Respiratory Coronavirus is partially related to health care workers becoming infected with the disease.

This month the World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed 32 cases of the virus so far, including a cluster of 10 health care workers, all of whom worked with an infected patient who died on April 10. Nearly all the cases were located in the Middle East countries of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Jordan. One case was found in Malaysia.

Of the 32 cases reported this month, 19 were health care workers, according to the WHO.

 

For the first time, the disease has been found in Asia, after a Malaysian man was found to have contracted it this month. The 54-year-old man was diagnosed with the disease after traveling to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The man traveled for a pilgrimage and during his vacation spent time at a camel farm, where he had camel milk. He died on April 13 and had undisclosed underlying health conditions.

The virus is a respiratory virus in the same family as the deadly SARS virus and common cold. Symptoms can include fever, shortness of breath, pneumonia, diarrhea and in severe cases kidney failure.

Since the virus was first identified in April 2012, the WHO has found a total of 243 confirmed cases of the deadly virus and 93 people have died from it.

The virus has been shown to spread between people in close contact. Currently officials do not know where the virus originated, but suspect it was likely from an animal.

No MERS-CoV infections have been reported in the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that travelers to the Arabian Peninsula monitor their health during the trip and in the weeks after.

CDC officials recommend that if a recent traveler to the region develops a fever or symptom of respiratory illness, including a cough or shortness of breath, they should see a doctor immediately.

MERS VIRUS CAUSES 67 DEATHS IN SAUDI ARABIA

MERS Virus

Saudi health authorities announced on Wednesday another death caused by the MERS virus in the capital Riyadh, bringing the nationwide toll to 67.
 
The 57-year-old Saudi national had been suffering from chronic illnesses, the health ministry said.
 
It also reported that another two Saudis had been infected by the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, one a 51-year-old and the other a 
90-year-old, both of whom are suffering chronic illnesses.
 
The latest figures bring to 179 the number of cases of MERS in Saudi Arabia since the virus first appeared in the kingdom in September 2012.
 
The virus was initially concentrated in the eastern region but has now spread across more areas.
 
Eleven new cases were reported in the western port city of Jeddah in recent weeks, causing a wave of panic fuelled by rumours circulated on social networks.
 
Of the 11 victims, two died while six have recovered and another three are undergoing treatment, according to the health ministry.
 
Three of the patients in Jeddah were health workers, including one of the two who died, prompting authorities to close the emergency department at the city’s King Fahd Hospital.
 
Patients were transferred to other hospitals while the department was disinfected in a process expected to take 24 hours, the ministry said on Tuesday.
 
The MERS virus is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus that erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died.
 
Experts are still struggling to understand the disease, for which there is no known vaccine.
 
A study revealed that the virus has been “extraordinarily common” in camels for at least 20 years, and may have been passed directly from the animals to humans.
 
The World Health Organisation said at the end of March that it had been told of 206 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS infection worldwide, of which 86 had been fatal.

4 New Saudi Cases Of MERS Virus, 1 Fatal: WHO
New MERS infections, including in two health workers in Riyadh, bring the worldwide total of confirmed cases of the respiratory disease to 170 with 72 deaths
MERS Virus
WHO: 4 new Saudi cases of MERS virus, 1 fatal
Four more people in Saudi Arabia have been infected with the SARS-like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus and one of them — an elderly man — has died, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.

The new infections, including in two health workers from Riyadh who have not reported any adverse symptoms, bring the worldwide total of confirmed cases of the respiratory disease to 170 with 72 deaths, the United Nations health agency said.

MERS first emerged in the Middle East in September 2012 and is from the same family as the SARS virus, can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia.

Cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Tunisia as well as in several countries in Europe, and scientists are increasingly focused on a link between the human infections and camels as a possible “animal reservoir” of the virus.

In Friday’s update, the WHO said the latest MERS death — a 73 year-old man from Riyadh — had reported having contact with animals but had no travel history outside the Riyadh region.

The fourth case, in a 53-year-old man from Riyadh, was after contact with a previously confirmed MERS case. He was hospitalized on Nov. 26 and is currently receiving treatment in an intensive care unit, it said.

Dutch and Qatari scientists published research earlier this month that proved for the first time that MERS can also infect camels — strengthening suspicions that these animals, often used in the region for meat, milk, transport and racing, may be a source of the human outbreak.

The WHO said people at high risk of severe disease due to MERS should “avoid close contact with animals when visiting farms or barn areas where the virus is known to be potentially circulating.”

For the general public it advised normal hygiene steps such as hand washing before and after touching animals, avoiding contact with sick animals and good food hygiene practices.

Saudi Announces 56th MERS Virus Death
The Saudi health ministry announced Saturday a new MERS death, raising to 56 the number of people killed by the corona virus in the country with the most fatalities.

The victim was a 73-year-old Saudi man, who suffered from chronic illnesses, the ministry said on its website.

It also reported three new cases of the virus.

They are two foreigners working in health care who had been exposed to patients suffering from the virus and a 53-year-old Saudi man who is also chronically ill and in intensive care.

The ministry said 136 cases have been reported in the country since the virus appeared more than a year ago.

Experts are struggling to understand the disease, for which there is no vaccine.

It is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus that erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died.

Oman Reports First MERS Virus Death
 
Saudi Arabia announces new death, bringing its toll to 53
 
The first known case of Mers coronavirus in Oman succumbed to the deadly virus on Sunday morning after battling the illness for 12 days.

The 68-year-old Omani from the country’s northwest region was first diagnosed with Mers on September 29 at the Adam health centre, about 200km northwest of Muscat, but he was moved to the Nizwa Hospital as he had a persistent fever, where he tested positive for the virus.

According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Health, the patient was suffering from multiple chronic diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

“He was under the best medical care but his condition kept deteriorating and on Saturday morning he breathed his last due to lung failure,” a spokesman for the ministry said.

 

During a recent interaction with media Dr Ahmad Bin Mohammad Al Saeedi, Oman’s Minister of Health, had said: “We have examined 129 cases over the last year and all tested negative for this virus. We have a strong surveillance system which has also been appreciated by the WHO.”

Symptoms of Mers infection include renal failure and severe acute pneumonia, which often result in a fatal outcome. The first patient had a “seven-day history of fever, cough, expectoration and shortness of breath”. Mers has an estimated incubation period of 12 days.

Meanwhile, Saudi health authorities announced on Sunday a new death caused by Mers, bringing to 53 the number of fatalities in the kingdom from the coronavirus.

The health ministry gave no details on the latest death in the country most affected by the disease that first appeared in the Gulf state in September 2012.

The virus has so far cost 64 lives worldwide, according to a November 4 update by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Experts are struggling to understand Mers, for which there is no vaccine.

It is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the Sars virus that erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine per cent of whom died.

Like Sars, Mers appears to cause a lung infection, with patients suffering from a temperature, cough and breathing difficulty.

But it differs in that it also causes rapid kidney failure and the extremely high death rate has caused serious concern.

In August, researchers pointed to Arabian camels as possible hosts of the virus.

Saudi Reports Two New Cases Of MERS
Virus
A Muslim pilgrim wears a mask as he arrives to perform evening prayers in Mecca's Grand Mosque, on October 8, 2013

Saudi Arabia has recorded two new cases of the MERS virus, the health ministry said on Saturday, a day after authorities in neighbouring Qatar reported one new case.

Saudi Arabia accounts for a full 52 of 127 deaths worldwide from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) so far, while Qatar accounts for two.

The two new cases were both Saudis, the ministry reported on its website, one a 72-year-old in Riyadh with pre-existing health problems, the other a 43-year-old in the commercial capital Jeddah.

The case in Qatar is of a 48-year-old foreign resident who is also suffering from chronic illness, health authorities said.

MERS is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus that erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died, and sowed economic chaos.

Since MERS first appeared in September last year, virtually of the deaths have been in the Gulf or among people who had recently travelled there.