Robert Roos at CIDRAP has an excellent overview of the day: MERS surge continues; April cases top past 2 years' total. Excerpt:
The April surge of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) cases continued today with a report of 16 more in Saudi Arabia, while European health officials observed that the total for this month alone exceeds the total for the preceding 2 years since the disease emerged.
Saudi Arabia described cases in seven cities around the country, with only three in Jeddah, which has been the major hot spot lately. None of the latest cases were fatal, but two previously reported patients have died, the government said.
Meanwhile, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said its global count of MERS-CoV cases reported in April reached 217 yesterday, compared with 207 reported in all previous months since the disease surfaced in 2012.
Latest cases widely scattered
In a statement posted today, the Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) said the 16 new cases include 7 in Riyadh, 2 in Tabuk, 1 in Mecca, 3 in Jeddah, 1 in Najran, 1 in Hafr Al-Batin, and 1 in Medina. Most of those cities have had other cases this month, but the one in Hafr Al-Batin is the first there since July 2013, according to a case list maintained by FluTrackers, an infectious disease message board.
The MOH today continued its new practice of sharing much more information than it did before a new acting health minister, Adel Faqih, was appointed last week. Today's statement on the new cases included a map and graphs showing patients' age and gender distribution and previous health status.
Ten of the 16 patients have preexisting health conditions, the MOH said. Three patients were described as asymptomatic, 6 are in stable condition, and 7 are being treated in intensive care units.
The statement said 5 patents are in the age range of 25 to 44 years, 4 are between 45 and 64, and 7 are 65 or older, the statement said. Nine patients had contact with other MERS case-patients, but none were reported to have had contact with animals.
For the second day in a row, none of the new patients were described as healthcare workers (HCWs), which contrasts with the general pattern of the past few weeks. For example, among the 26 cases announced by the MOH on Apr 26 and 27, 9 were HCWs, and 4 of 14 reported on Apr 25 were in that category. On Apr 24, 5 of 12 newly reported cases involved HCWs.
The two deaths in previously reported cases involved a 41-year-old man in Tabuk and an 88-year-old man in Riyadh.
The latest cases raise Saudi Arabia's posted MERS count to 361 cases and 107 deaths.