WHO has published Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia. Excerpt and then a comment:
Between 23 February and 16 March 2017 the national IHR focal point of Saudi Arabia reported 18 additional cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) including two fatal cases. Four deaths among previously reported MERS cases were also reported (case numbers 1, 4, 5 and 7 in the Disease Outbreak News published on 10 March 2017).
An outbreak of MERS occurred in a haemodialysis unit in a hospital in Riyadh. Contact tracing revealed that eight symptomatic and two asymptomatic cases are associated with this outbreak.
Detailed information concerning the cases reported between 23 February and 16 March 2017 can be found in a separate document (see link below).
Globally, since September 2012, 1935 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV including at least 690 related deaths have been reported to WHO.
MERS-CoV cases reported between 23 February and 16 March 2017 xlsx, 21kb [Click or tap through to the WHO report to download the details.]
Public health response
In response to this outbreak, the rapid response team was dispatched from the Ministry of Health, and regional health directorate and this was followed by the activation of the outbreak management team.
The following measures were implemented:
• Intensive infection control training was given to all the hospital staff including the strict monitoring of infection control measures in the dialysis unit.
• Active triage of all haemodialysis patients prior to initiation of dialysis was enforced. Those with symptoms were directed to designated areas and managed as suspected cases.
• The haemodialysis unit was cleaned using hospital grade disinfectants and hydrogen peroxide fumigation.
• Asymptomatic patients served by the unit (or their caregivers) were contacted daily by phone to ensure they do not attend another haemodialysis unit or seek healthcare services elsewhere without coordination.
This seems to be the pattern in Saudi Arabia: someone catches MERS from a camel, goes to hospital, and MERS promptly moves via the hemodialysis unit to new victims.