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MERS-CoV Community Transmission In Al Hofuf?
Recombinomics Commentary 10:00
May 14, 2013

In its latest outbreak in its Eastern Province, it said it had had 15 confirmed cases, of whom nine had died.

Among those was a nine-year-old girl who died a few hours after arriving at hospital with a strong fever.

Another fatality was Haidar Ghanem, a disabled 21-year-old man who had a "strong fever" for a week, according to his father Mokhtar. He died last Thursday, four days after being admitted to hospital after falling unconscious.

The above translation describes the two most recent confirmed MERS-CoV fatalities in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia.  The description of the younger case (9F) matches the detailed May 5 description of a student in Al Hofuf (see map).  This fatality was followed by reports of 5 hospitalized cases at her school with SARS-like synptoms, as well as a non-disclosure requirement that prohibited release of the names, ages, and location of the school, although a tweet has cited cases at a school in Al Hofuf (Abu Abeida), which may be the school cited above or an additional school.

The cluster(s) at the school(s) support community transmission by casual conact, which is in contrast to recent WHO reports claiming that MERS-CoV transmission requires close contact such as family members caring for infected cases.

More detail on the hospitalized students and the number of schools reporting suspect MERS-CoV cases would be useful.

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