Thanks to Maia Majumder for retweeting Helen Branswell's tweet about this KSA MOH news release: Health Minister Reviews Response to MERS-CoV in Taif. Excerpt:
His Excellency Eng. Adel M. Fakeih, the acting Minister of Health, conducted an urgent inspection Sunday of King Faisal and King Abdulaziz hospitals in response to a MERS-CoV cluster in Taif.
The Ministry’s Command & Control Center has confirmed nine MERS-CoV cases in the Taif area over the last two weeks.
“The concerning rate of infection in Taif suggests we may see additional cases of MERS-CoV there in the coming days,” Minister Fakeih said. “This is a reminder of the dangers to the public of unprotected contact with camels and the need for healthcare workers to follow proper infection-control procedures.”
In addition to sporadic cases most likely linked to exposure to infected camels, there have been some secondary infections that involved patients and healthcare workers at local hospitals.
“We might not be able to eradicate MERS-CoV from nature, but the Ministry must do everything possible to protect patients and healthcare workers from this disease,” the Minister said. “Even one MERS-CoV infection acquired in the hospital is a crisis that demands an immediate and comprehensive response.”
The Ministry is taking the following steps with immediate effect:
•Public health experts are tracing people who came into contact with each of the MERS-CoV patients.
•The dialysis unit at King Abdulaziz Hospital is being disinfected. To reduce overcrowding, the Ministry is moving up to 20 additional dialysis machines to King Faisal Hospital, which will allow the Ministry to divert some dialysis patients there from King Abdulaziz Hospital to King Faisal Hospital.
•King Abdulaziz Hospital will transfer MERS-CoV patients to King Faisal Hospital, the designated MERS-CoV hospital for Taif.
•The Ministry is moving a mobile laboratory to Taif to accommodate the need for additional testing and to expedite the delivery of test results.
•Both hospitals are transferring some of their intensive-care patients, when feasible, to Jeddah and Riyadh.
•Experts are assessing and monitoring infection-control measures at the MOH facilities. This includes fit testing for the face masks that healthcare workers wear while treating patients.
•The existing isolation ward for MERS-CoV patients at King Faisal Hospital is being split into two wards, one for suspected cases and one for confirmed cases.
•MOH dialysis units in Taif are adding an additional shift with the goal of preventing infection by reducing the number of patients who are being treated in each session.
I can't recall a similar statement from the Saudi Ministry of Health in the two years since MERS became a recognized problem in the Gulf states. It's certainly an encouraging sign ... up to a point.