Eight new cases of MERS-CoV reported in Saudi Arabia

The World Health Organization announced on Wednesday that it was informed of eight additional laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection in Saudi Arabia.

The cases include two men suffering from pre-existing chronic illnesses from Riyadh who died. There were four other infections reported in Riyadh, three women and one man. Three of the patients are currently hospitalized in an intensive care unit. The other patient is still hospitalized but is now off mechanical ventilation.

The other reported cases occurred in two men from Asir, including one 55-year-old man who is currently asymptomatic. The other is hospitalized in an intensive care unit.

Since September, there were 102 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infections reported to the WHO, including 49 deaths.

The WHO encouraged all Member States to continue surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections, particularly in recent travelers returning from the Middle East. Member States should also review any unusual patterns and consider MERS-CoV infection even with atypical symptoms, such as diarrhea, in immunocompromised patients.

The organization reminded healthcare facilities of the necessity of systematic implementation of infection prevention and control. Facilities providing care for patients suspected or confirmed with MERS-CoV infection must take appropriate measures to decrease viral transmission risk to other patients, visitors and healthcare workers.

The WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regards to MERS-CoV nor does it recommend applying any trade or travel restrictions.