WHO – Cause of Jeddah MERS Primary Case Spike Unknown

Wednesday, May 7, 2014
By Paul Martin

May 7, 2014

The reasons for the increase in the number of primary community cases, as well as the infection route, remain unknown.

The above comments from the WHO EMRO investigation of MERS cases in Jeddah continue to raise concerns that a novel sub-clade has emerged in Jeddah. The WHO report did note spread in hospitals and the need for more infection control, but the cases in western KSA have not been limited to Jeddah. The most recent MoH MERS update has cited cases in Jeddah, Mecca, Medina, and Taif.

The spike in Jeddah cases beginning in mid-March has raised concerns about a novel sub-clade. Sequences from three cases in two hospitals collected in early April (Jeddah_C7569, Jeddah_C7149, Jeddah_C7770). has increased concerns because all three sequences are virtually identical and include 11 polymorphisms not reported in any prior human cases. These sequences were released at the Drosten website and 25 partial sequences from the spike gene from additional Jeddah cases were said to be identical. However, these sequences, or location within the spike gene, have not been made public.

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