CIDRAP was off for Memorial Day yesterday, but it's caught up rapidly today. For starters, Robert Roos has a major story: MERS reaches Iran; cases slowing in Saudi Arabia. Excerpt:
Iran yesterday reported its first two cases of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus), according to media reports, while Saudi Arabia has now gone 2 days without reporting any new cases, after announcing eight on May 24 and 25.
In addition, the media reported one new case in Jordan on May 25, for a total of 11 cases reported since May 23.
The cases in Iran involved two sisters who were among four suspected case-patients in one family in the southeastern province of Kerman, according to a Reuters story today. Word of the cases first surfaced yesterday in computer translations of an Iranian health ministry announcement.
The cases were announced by Mohammad Mahdi Gouya, director-general of communicable diseases at the Iranian Health Ministry's Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention, the Reuters story said.
"One of the sisters is in critical condition and the other is currently receiving treatment under special circumstances," Gouya said in a statement on the ministry's Web site.
The story gave no other details about the two patients or their possible exposures to the virus. Gouya was quoted as saying that Iran had sent medical teams to Saudi Arabia, "where they studied MERS cases among Iranian Hajj pilgrims." But no MERS cases have previously been reported in Iran, nor were any confirmed cases reported among pilgrims who attended the 2013 Hajj last October.
Iran becomes the 20th country, and the ninth in the Middle East, to identify MERS cases. Other Middle Eastern countries with cases are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, Oman, Kuwait, Yemen, and Lebanon.