Camel Breeding Season Brings more Coronavirus Fears

JEDDAH — The command and control center of the Health Ministry has noted a rise in Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus infections from only four cases in September, with health experts blaming the camel breeding season for the increase.

The ministry, reported Makkah daily on Wednesday, registered 24 confirmed cases of coronavirus in November and 23 in October, against 10 cases each in August and July.

Dr. Mohammed Halwani, associate professor of contagious diseases at the college of medicine in Al-Baha University, attributed the rise of cases to the breeding season for camels.

He said: “The newly-born camels have more viruses than the adults. People will contract the virus when they come into contact with them or inhale their nasal secretions.”

Halwani said the virus has not been completely wiped out from the Kingdom. “It has been in existence since it was discovered late 2012,” he said.

He said the moderate weather in the Kingdom nowadays is another factor in the spread of the virus. “In cold weather the virus spreads quicker,” he added. A total of 800 people were infected since the virus was discovered. Of them, 446 have recovered, 340 died and 14 are currently under treatment. The ministry also said an increasing number of coronavirus patients were escaping from the King Faisal Hospital in Taif.

“This is a very worrying matter and may further lead to the epidemic spreading further,” a ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

The official said the ministry does not have the power or authority to bring such patients back from their homes to the hospital.

“We can only talk to the families and warn them that they may get the disease if they keep the patients with them.

“We only have the hope that we will be able to convince them to turn their sick relatives in.”

The official asked for more cooperation between the ministry and police to return escapee patients to hospital, otherwise the virus may spread further and become difficult to contain.

He also called for stationing police officers in hospitals to prevent coronavirus patients from escaping.


(Source: Saudi Gazette)

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