The second International Conference on Mass Gathering Medicine, which concluded in Riyadh on Monday, called for intensive global investigation of MERS coronavirus to help uncover its mode of transmission, transition rate, the level of exposure and susceptible hosts.
The three-day conference, which was inaugurated by Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, focused on coronavirus, which has already infected 130 people in the world.
The virus has infected 109 people and caused 49 fatalities in the Kingdom.
The delegates also observed that the death rate was high during the initial outbreak of the disease. The death rate, the minister said, was lowered subsequently due to preventive and curative measures taken by nations.
More than 1,000 local and international delegates, including health ministers from 15 countries, took part in the conference discussions. The Ministry of Health organized the conference in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO).
Al-Rabeeah assured delegates on the second day of the event that this year’s Haj season would be coronavirus-free because of the tight quarantine measures undertaken for arriving Haj pilgrims at entry points in the Western Province.
Experts pointed out that England is engaged in a research study on the virus. Based on studies conducted in countries such as Britain, France, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, the study found that the virus has an incubation period of 13 days and can be transmitted to others.
According to the study, severe complications arose in cases where patients already suffered from chronic ailments such as diabetes, renal and cardiac diseases.
The delegates felt that although there is no definite source for this infection, bats and camels are the likely sources identified at present. The conference stressed the need for experts to conduct genetic research in the relevant field.