MERS sickens UAE paramedics, Jordanian, more Saudis

Saturday, April 12, 2014
By Paul Martin

Lisa Schnirring
CIDRAP News
Apr 11, 2014

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) today announced a cluster of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases in six Filipino paramedics, killing one of them, while the World Health Organization (WHO) announced an infection in a Jordanian man who had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia.

Also, late today Saudi Arabia’s health ministry reported three more MERS-CoV cases from Jeddah, one of them fatal. The two survivors are both healthcare workers, according to a machine-translated statement that originally appeared in Arabic.

The paramedics worked for the same ambulance section in the city of Al Ain, according to a statement today from the UAE’s interior ministry. It said the infections were detected during periodic medical exams.

The ministry said the surviving paramedics have been placed in isolation and that health officials are tracing patients transported to hospitals by the ambulance company to see if there are any other MERS-CoV infections.

UAE’s six new infections boost its number of MERS-CoV cases to 27.

News of more health workers sickened by the virus stokes more concerns about their safety and questions about how the virus is spreading in medical settings. The infections in the paramedics occurred as Saudi Arabia battles a cluster of MERS-CoV infections in Jeddah, which led one of the hospitals to temporarily shutter its emergency department this week.

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