Additional MERS-CoV case confirmed in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health recently announced an additional laboratory-confirmed case of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

According to a WHO global alert and response, the MERS-CoV patient is a 66-year-old man from the Asir region who is in critical but stable condition. A Qatari patient who was earlier confirmed with the MERS-CoV infection and was being treated in the United Kingdom died on June 28.

Since September, the WHO was informed of 81 laboratory-confirmed MERS-CoV cases, including 45 deaths.

The WHO encourages all member states to continue surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections and to carefully review unusual patterns. All travelers returning from the Middle East who develop SARI should be tested for MERS-CoV and test specimens should be obtained from patients' lower respiratory tracts whenever possible. The WHO reminds clinicians that MERS-CoV should be considered even if patients present atypical symptoms, such as diarrhea, especially in immunocompromised patients.

Healthcare facilities must implement systematic infection prevention and control, particularly in facilities providing care for suspected or confirmed MERS-CoV patients.

Member states should quickly assess and notify WHO of any MERS-CoV infections and potential exposures that result in infection.

The WHO does not yet advise special screenings at points of entry with relation to the MERS-CoV and it does not recommend applying any trade or travel restrictions.