ECDC announces confirmed cases of MERS coronavirus in Saudi Arabia
The MERS coronavirus, also known as Saudi SARS, is a new type of coronavirus that was discovered in 2012. Saudi SARS is closely related to the more famous SARS, which has been labeled Hong Kong SARS to avoid confusion, and is believed to have originated with an unknown animal species.
SARS works by evading the innate immune responses and disrupting interferon production in the cells. The result is a severe acute pneumonia, which can eventually lead to renal failure and death.
These latest string of cases are reported to come from Saudi Arabia and Italy. There were six cases reported to come from Saudi Arabia. All of these cases come from people with underlying medical conditions. Three of the six cases have died.
The other three cases come from Italy. One case is a 45 year old man who had recently traveled to Jordan. The other two cases are close contacts of the man.
The ECDC is closely monitoring the MERS coronavirus in all regions of the world and in light of these new developments, the ECDC will maintain the rapid risk assessment it made on May 17.