Feb 25, 2020 12:36 Asia/Tehran [Updated: Mar 26, 2020 22:11 Asia/Tehran]
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
    World Health Organization (WHO)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported 19 additional cases of MERS-CoV coronavirus infection, including 8 associated deaths in Saudi Arabia, in the period between 1 December 2019 through to 31 January 2020.

Iran Press/Middle East: According to a statement released on the World Health Organization (WHO) website, from 1 December 2019 through to 31 January 2020, the National IHR Focal Point of Saudi Arabia reported 19 additional cases of MERS-CoV infection, including 8 associated deaths. The cases were reported from Aseer (7 cases), Riyadh (6 cases), Al-Qassim (2 cases), Eastern (2 cases), Madinah (1 case), and Aljouf (1 case) regions. In January 2020, a hospital outbreak was reported in Aseer region with a cluster of 6 cases. Three of the cases were health care workers, two were patients and one was a visitor. One of the cases of this cluster died on 4 February 2020.

It should be noted that the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, or MERS‐CoV) that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. The virus which has killed 8 people in Saudi Arabia is a different type of Coronavirus to the one which originated in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province in China, which has killed more than 2600 individuals since it appeared in November -December 2019.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Typical MERS symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Pneumonia is common, but not always present. Gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhoea, have also been reported. Some laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection are reported as asymptomatic, meaning that they do not have any clinical symptoms, yet they are positive for MERS-CoV infection following a laboratory test. Most of these asymptomatic cases have been detected following aggressive contact tracing of a laboratory-confirmed case.

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