Investigators Say Saudi Arabia Contributed To Spread Of Deadly MERS Virus

Tuesday, July 1, 2014
By Paul Martin

Katie Jennings
BusinessInsider.com
Jun. 30, 2014

Lack of proper protocols at Saudi Arabian hospitals may have contributed to the recent surge in cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, according to The New York Times.

Since MERS was first identified in humans in 2012, the virus has spread to more than 20 countries, including the United States. The World Health Organization has confirmed 700 cases resulting in more than 200 deaths to date.

While scientists suspect that the disease first came to humans from camels, the spread of MERS throughout the Middle East, and Saudi Arabia in particular, has been attributed to hospital-related outbreaks. A recent report from the World Health Organization found a “lack of systematic implementation of infection prevention and control measures” in hospitals in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The New York Times reported on several instances where the disease was not successfully contained at King Fahd Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a city at the center of the outbreak:

Suspected MERS cases were not always identified and isolated, and patients unwittingly spread the virus around the hospital — one in the cardiac ward, and another among dialysis patients, according to Dr. Ahmed Ragab, chief of the hospital’s intensive care unit.

Overcrowding in hospital rooms was an issue, as well as lax sanitary measures (such as hand washing) among medical staff.

The Rest…HERE

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