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More MERS-CoV Cases and Deaths In Eastern KSA
Recombinomics Commentary 14:00
May 29, 2013

Of the 49 known infections with the MERS-CoV virus, 27 have resulted in death, the organization said.

The latest deaths were reported in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi health ministry said Wednesday that three people died from their infections in the country's eastern region.

The above comments indicate that three more MERS-CoV cases have died, raising the total to 21 in Saudi Arabia,  Since only 9 of the Saudi Arabia cases have been discharged, the case fatality rate (CFR) in Saudi Arabia based on the 30 outcomes is 70%.  This high CFR strongly suggests that the current testing / reporting in Saudi Arabia is describing a sub-set of the cases.  Three days ago the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health (KSA-MoH) had noted a halt in the increase in confirmed cases in the Eastern Province.  However, 5 new cases were announced yesterday, and the above comments indicated three more deaths from the region have been confirmed (see map).

These new numbers raise serious transparency concerns.  Little detail was provided for the 5 recent cases, and all were elderly.  Media reports have described the deaths of several children, but none have been reported by the KSA-MoH.  The failure to report any of these cases has raised concerns that the number of MERS-CoV cases is markedly higher than reported, raising concerns that the situation in KSA in the summer of 2013 is similar to the SARS-CoV situation in China in early 2003. 

There had been some suggestions that MERS-CoV infections would decline in the summer, which was seen for SARS.  However, the 5 new cases in the eastern region as well as new confirmed and suspect cases in the Al Qassim region northwest of Riyadh (see map) raises serious concerns that the MERS-CoV outbreak will impact the Ramadan pilgrims who will arrive in early July.

More detail on the recent cases in the eastern region, Al Qassim, and children would be useful.

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