More MERS-CoV deaths reported as clusters are profiled
May 29, 2013
Another Saudi Arabian has been infected with the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), while six others whose illnesses were previously announced have died, Saudi Arabian authorities and the World Health Organization announced today.
The latest reports raise the unofficial MERS-CoV tally to 50 cases with 30 deaths, for a case-fatality rate of 60%.
Also today, two medical journals published reports on MERS-CoV case clusters in France and Saudi Arabia, which reinforced the view that the virus does not spread very easily from person to person and suggested that its incubation period is as long as 12 days.
In a brief statement, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) said the latest case is in a “new Saudi citizen,” age 61, who has chronic diseases that include kidney failure. The statement said he lives in the Al-Ahsa region but did not say whether his case is related to the hospital-centered case cluster that began there in April.
The MOH also announced the deaths of three patients, aged 60, 58, and 24, whose cases were reported previously and who were hospitalized about a month ago. It said they all had chronic kidney failure and other diseases, but gave no other details.
Earlier today, the WHO reported the deaths of three other MERS-CoV patients, who apparently were among the five new cases that were reported by the Saudi MOH yesterday. The WHO said all five patients are from eastern Saudi Arabia but not from Al-Ahsa.
The five patients—three men and two women—were all older than 50 and had pre-existing health problems. The WHO described those who died as:
A 56-year-old man who became ill on May 12 and died May 20
A 77-year-old man who fell ill on May 19 and succumbed on the 26th
A 73-year-old man who got sick on May 18 and died on the 26th
The other two patients are an 85-year-old woman who became ill May 17 and is in critical condition and a 76-year-old woman who had her first symptoms May 24 and was discharged from a hospital on May 27, the WHO reported.
The agency also confirmed yesterday’s reports of the deaths of an 81-year-old woman from Al-Ahsa and the man who became France’s first MERS-CoV patient.
The WHO listed the global MERS-CoV count as 49 cases with 27 deaths. Today’s MOH statement apparently increases that to 50 cases with 30 deaths.
The journal reports published today focus on the two MERS-CoV cases that recently surfaced in France and a family cluster of four cases in Saudi Arabia last October and November.
Writing in The Lancet, a French team reported on the man who fell ill after returning to France from Dubai and the man who contracted MERS-CoV after sharing a hospital room with him.