WHO announces two new cases of MERS-CoV

The World Health Organization released an update on Tuesday announcing two novel laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infections in Saudi Arabia.

The first confirmed case involved a 51-year-old woman from the Jawf province in Saudi Arabia. Her symptoms onset on November 20 and she was treated in the intensive care unit at a hospital in Riyadh. She had no reported contact with animals and the investigation concerning her case is still being conducted.

The second confirmed case involved a 26-year-old female healthcare worker in Riyadh. She is asymptomatic but had contact with a 37-year-old male patient who had a confirmed MERS-CoV infection in November.

The new cases bring the total count for MERS-CoV infections to 165, including 71 deaths. Despite the new cases, the WHO has not changed its risk assessment, prevention and treatment recommendations for the disease at this time.

WHO recommended that all Member States continue surveillance of emerging cases of severe acute respiratory infection. It also recommended that any persons who develop SARI that recently traveled to the Middle East be tested for MERS-CoV.

The most common symptom associated with MERS-CoV is respiratory disease. Additional symptoms include diarrhea, renal failure, shock and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Patients with underlining autoimmune deficiencies may present atypical symptoms and signs of infection.