ALERT: Saudi Arabia reports 7 more MERS cases, 1 fatal

Saudi Arabia today reported seven new Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases, one of them fatal, as details emerged that Filipinos are among the recent deaths.

Six of the new Saudi cases are from areas that have reported several recent infections, such as Jeddah (4), Medina (1), and Riyadh (1). But one of the patients is from Gonfothah, on the southwestern coast of the country, according to a statement from Saudi Arabia’s health ministry (MOH).

One of the patients is in critical condition, three are listed as stable, and two are asymptomatic. The patient who died is a 74-year-old man who had lymphoma and started having respiratory symptoms on May 18. He was hospitalized the next day and died on May 20.

All of the patients are adults and range in age from 33 to 75. Four are men. Aside from the man who died, only one other patient has an underlying medical condition, a 75-year-old man who has hypertension.

Only one patient—a 65-year-old man from Gonfothah who is asymptomatic and visited a government hospital for health reasons—was reported to have contact with a confirmed case. Otherwise, no healthcare, camel, or animal environment exposure was listed for the other patients.

Illness onsets range from May 10 to May 20, and hospital admission dates range from May 12 to May 22.

The new cases boost Saudi Arabia’s MERS total to 551, including 177 deaths.

Filipinos among recent MERS deaths

In a related development, government officials from the Philippines said they have been notified that two of Saudi Arabia’s recent MERS deaths involved Filipinos, reported today. The officials did not specify the genders or occupations of the two people, but did say that the patients died on May 12 and May 18.

On May 19, Saudi Arabia’s health ministry listed a May 18th death of a 28-year-old woman in Jeddah and on May 13 listed four May 12th deaths from Jeddah, but it’s unclear if any of them involve the patients from the Philippines, because the MOH hasn’t been listing nationalities in any of its recent updates.

They are the fifth Filipinos to die from MERS in the Middle East, according to the report. At least two of the earlier deaths were in health workers, a paramedic working in the United Arab Emirates and a nurse working at a Riyadh hospital.



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