A foreign worker wears a mask as he rides a bicycle near the King Fahad hospital in the city of Hofuf, East of the capital Riyadh, in this June 16, 2013 file photo. (AFP)
RIYADH: Two men died and two more were infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) during the past two days, according to the latest report from the Ministry of Health issued on Wednesday.
The dead included a Saudi man aged 72 from Hofuf and a male expatriate aged 55 years from Jeddah. Among the two newly infected cases was a 73-year-old Saudi man from Thurabah and a 60-year-old Saudi woman in Hofuf.
Since June 2012, the total number of MERS-infected cases has reached 1,029 which includes 452 deaths, 568 recovered cases and nine patients still taking treatment at various health facilities throughout the Kingdom.
Infection prevention and control measures are critical to prevent the possible spread of MERS-CoV in health care facilities. It is not always possible to identify patients with MERS-CoV early because like other respiratory infections, the early symptoms of MERS-CoV are non-specific.
Therefore, health care workers should always apply standard precautions with all patients, regardless of their diagnosis.
Droplet precautions should be added to 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; airborne precautions should be applied when performing aerosol generating procedures.
Until more is understood about MERS-CoV, people with diabetes, renal failure, chronic lung disease and immuno-compromised persons are considered to be at high risk of severe disease from MERS-CoV infection. Therefore, these people should avoid close contact with animals, particularly camels, when visiting farms, markets, or barn areas where the virus is known to be potentially circulating.
General hygiene measures, such as regular hand washing before and after touching animals and avoiding contact with sick animals, should be adhered to.
Food hygiene practices should be observed. People should avoid drinking raw camel milk or camel urine, or eating meat that has not been properly cooked.
WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event nor does it currently recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions