MERS Claims 2 more Lives

2015-0314 11 MERS Claims 2 more Lives

Two people died of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the Kingdom on Thursday. At least five fresh cases were reported.

The Kingdom has witnessed 862 MERS cases thus far, which have led to a total of 368 deaths since September 2012. Currently, 15 patients with MERS are receiving treatment in various hospitals in the Kingdom. So far 479 people have completely recovered from the illness.

Those who died of MERS Thursday were a 49 year-old Saudi man in Dammam and a 73-year-old expatriate woman in Jeddah.

Among the five recent cases were three expatriates including two women, from Jeddah, Alkhobar and Buraidah, while the other two were Saudis from Riyadh and Onaizah. Among the three infected expatriates, a male and a female were health care personnel from Buraidah and Alkhobar, respectively.

An official from the Ministry of Health said that two Saudis and an expatriate patient in Riyadh and Dhahran were also discharged following their full recovery.

In a fresh campaign to combat MERS coronavirus, the Ministry of Health has urged people to take maximum precautions when dealing with camels and its products. The MoH has advised people not to go near infected camels, or to wear a long sleeved medical gown, gloves and a mask over nose and mouth if they must venture near the animal.

Besides avoiding infected camels and refraining from visiting MERS infected persons, the official said basic hygiene such as hand washing should be strictly followed before meals. Additionally, the Ministry of Health launched a Kingdom-wide awareness campaign on coronavirus in cooperation with the World Health Organization. Based on the current situation and available information, the WHO encourages all member states to continue their surveillance for acute respiratory infections and to carefully review any unusual patterns.

The health care workers have been advised to apply standard precautions consistently with all patients, regardless of their diagnosis. Droplet precautions should be added to the standard precautions when providing care to patients with symptoms of acute respiratory infection; contact precautions and eye protection should be added when caring for probable or confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection, while airborne precautions should be applied when performing aerosol generating procedures.

People with diabetes, renal failure, chronic lung disease and low immunity are considered to be at high risk of severe disease from MERS‐CoV infection. Therefore, it is recommended that they avoid close contact with animals, particularly camels, when visiting farms, markets or barn areas where the virus is known to be potentially circulating.


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