MERS Cases Confirmed in Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health reported additional Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases in the nation's capital city of Riyadh.
On March 11, 2021, the Ministry of Health confirmed one case is a 57-year-old man who had contact with camels, and the other is a 56-year-old woman who didn't have contact with camels or others known to be infected with MERS-CoV.
These are the seventh MERS-CoV cases confirmed during 2021. MERS-CoV was first reported in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2012.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported between June through December 31, 2020, the National IHR Focal Point of Saudi Arabia reported four cases of MERS-CoV with one associated death. The cases were reported from Riyadh (two cases), Taif (one case), and Al-Ahsaa (one case) Regions.
MERS-CoV is a zoonotic, viral beta coronavirus, and the source remains unknown, says the U.S. CDC.
Scientific evidence suggests that people are infected through direct or indirect contact with infected dromedary camels. It causes severe infections that result in a high mortality rate, says the WHO.
Only two patients in the USA have ever tested positive for MERS-CoV infection, both in May 2014, while more than 1,300 people tested negative.
The WHO stated on December 31, 2020, it encourages all Member States to continue their surveillance for acute respiratory infections and carefully review any unusual patterns based on the current situation and available information. The WHO does not advise special screening at entry points concerning this event, nor does it currently recommend applying any travel or trade restrictions.
As of March 11, 2021, the CDC had not approved a MERS-CoV prevention vaccine. However, there are vaccine candidates in the early stages of development.
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