MERS outbreak spreads through facilities in Saudi Arabia

MERS outbreak spreads through facilities in Saudi Arabia | Courtesy of
Health investigators have been tracing the origins of a MERS outbreak that spread throughout several health care facilities in Taif, Saudi Arabia.

The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), first identified in 2012, is a respiratory pathogen that caused 38 cases from September 2014 to January 2015. These cases were found in four health care facilities throughout Taif. Twenty-one of the 38 patients died from their diseases.

Records from public as well as clinical health data demonstrated that 13 of the MERS patients had served as health care personnel (HCP). Fifteen of the patients, four of whom were HCP patients, were linked to an infection at a dialysis unit. Three more of the HCP patients who had been in the dialysis unit showed evidence that they had contracted MERS-CoV infections.

Researchers amplified viral RNA taken from acute-phase serum specimens showed the relations between the patients. Fifteen of the patients submitted their specimens. The scientists ran a series of full spike gene-coding sequencing from 10 of the patients to create a discrete clusters. Nine of the specimens from patients showed  they were closely connected.

Other gene sequences from the samples showed the cases were not connected by location or time. This means that the viral transmission has not been found.

The viral circulation has continued to spread through several health care facilities as the outbreak continued. This emphasizes that infection control and surveillance practices are crucial to eliminating outbreaks and preventing them in the future.

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U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1600 Clifton Rd Atlanta, GA 30329

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