FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Additional MERS cases confirmed in Saudi Arabia

The World Health Organization (WHO) received confirmation of six additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection from Sept. 20-26.

All of the cases were reported by the National IHR Focal Point for Saudi Arabia. A 90-year-old man died from the infection on Sept. 25, two weeks after he first reported symptoms. The other patients are both male and female, ranging in age from 27- 59 years old.

WHO advises careful review of any acute respiratory infections, especially those who exhibit unusual patterns of disease. Infection prevention and control measures are the best way to prevent continual spread of MERS-CoV, including droplet and contact protections in health care facilities.

People with diabetes, renal failure, chronic lung disease and immunocompromised persons are at especially high risk of contracting MERS-CoV and should avoid any contact with someone who may have the infection. People should also be especially careful to avoid close contact with animals, particularly camels, when visiting farms, markets or barn areas where the virus is known to be potentially circulating.

Everyone living or working in areas where the infection is present, regardless of risk, should practice good general hygiene measures like frequent hand washing and good food hygiene practices. Raw camel milk or camel urine should be avoided and any meat should be properly cooked before human consumption.

Since September 2012, WHO has identified 1,589 people who have contracted the infection, resulting in 567 related deaths worldwide.

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