The Ministry of Health has assigned two laboratories to test suspected cases of MERS-CoV infection, Deputy Health Minister for Public Health and Head of the National Scientific Committee for Infectious Diseases Dr. Ziad Maimish announced at a press conference here on Sunday.
Regional MoH laboratory in Madinah and that of Mina Al-Wadi Hospital in Mina will work along with the labs in Jeddah, Riyadh and the Eastern Province.
Arrangements have been made to get the results from these labs within four hours, said Dr. Maimish.
Dr. Maimish said that so far 114 MERS cases have been reported in the Kingdom, of which there were 49 deaths.
The Ministry of Health has formed medical teams and set up preventative measures at points of entry to the Kingdom to monitor arriving pilgrims, verify their compliance with health regulations, and vaccinate those who have not been vaccinated.This is a welcome English version of an Arabic report on the weekend that easily defeated Google Translate. Apart from the news of the special labs, it's notable for mentioning the 114 cases (see the post just below).
But it's also a bit baffling: In a report on MERS, why mention vaccination of incoming pilgrims? There's no vaccine for MERS. Vaccination for other diseases is a good idea, but the story implies that such vaccination will protect Saudi Arabia against MERS from other countries.
Along with the unexplained correction of MERS case numbers, this only raises more skepticism about how well the Saudis are handling the problem. Maybe something was lost in translation.