WHO provides Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus update

The World Health Organization said on Thursday that the Ministries of Health of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates confirmed new human cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus.

In Saudi Arabia, four cases laboratory-confirmed cases were reported to WHO, including a man, 26, from Jeddah who became sick on March 22, was hospitalized on March 23 and died on April 6. A second patient, also a 26-year-old man from Jeddah, became sick on March 16 and was hospitalized on March 25.

The third case is a 77-year-old woman from the Riyadh region. She presented symptoms on March 25 and is in stable condition.

The fourth patient is a 50-year-old man from the Riyadh region who became ill on March 22.

UAE reported a 64-year-old man from Abu Dhabi became sick on March 21 and was hospitalized on March 25. The man had underlying conditions, and died on March 30.

Investigation showed the man had visited a camel farm in Harb city in Saudi Arabia on March 10 and visited Nezwa city in Oman on March 20. The man owned a poultry and sheep farm, but had not visited recently.

Investigations for all the cases are still ongoing.

WHO said 211 laboratory-confirmed MERS-CoV cases have been reported since September 2012, including 88 deaths.

The respiratory illness can be difficult to diagnose due to mild symptoms or atypical illness. Travelers returning from the Middle East who develop severe acute respiratory infections should be tested for MERS-CoV.