What's going on in Saudi Arabia? Now it's the Saudi Gazette with a report on the Jeddah MERS cases(s): Fresh MERS scare at Jeddah hospital. The complete report:
King Fahd hospital in Jeddah was a scene of chaos on Tuesday after seven of its medical staff were feared to have contracted Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, Al-Madinah reported Wednesday.
An official source said three female nurses who were suspected to have contracted the virus were sent to Erfan and Bagedo Hospital, where they were quarantined in separate rooms until the results of the laboratory tests were known.
He said three other doctors and an Asian female nurse were also suspected to have fallen victim to the virus after they complained of high fever and breathing difficulties.
The official said vaccines against all epidemics were given to all the hospital's staff.
A source at King Abdulaziz Hospital said Bandar Al-Kuthairy, the Saudi nurse who contracted the virus days after his wedding, was still confined to the ICU.
He said tests on his uncle, who had been accompanying him, had come out negative.
The official said the hospital had distributed masks and gloves among its employees as part of preventive measures it was taking against the virus. "We organized a symposium about the virus that was attended by a large number of doctors and nurses," he said.
Dr. Sami Badawood, director of Jeddah Health Affairs, said a team of consultants and specialists was following up Al-Kuthairy's condition and added that he is receiving daily reports about him.
He said the male nurse was the first Saudi to fall victim to the virus in Jeddah.
He said the hospital's staff, especially those who interact with patients regularly, were examined and were found to be free from the virus.
Chaos indeed. What's the point of vaccinating everyone "against all epidemics" when no vaccine exists for MERS? And Dr. Badawood is in conflict with Andrew Rambaut's table of MERS cases, which shows two Jeddah cases in 2013: a two-year-old boy sometime in the spring, and a 43-year-old man in late October.
This is the first story I've seen in the English-language Saudi media that actually uses the word "chaos" to describe the situation in a Saudi hospital.
Now we have to wait to see whether the government cracks down and tries to spin its way out of this, or we see an outbreak of real journalism in the Kingdom.