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MERS-CoV Taif Cluster Raises Ramandan Concerns
Recombinomics Commentary 14:45
June 17, 2013

the presence of 7 cases infected with Corona in the King Abdul Aziz Specialist Hospital in Taif.

The information indicated injuring two nurses - one Filipino and one Indian - were accompanied by one of the infected cases, which was announced before yesterday, as the case died yesterday morning

The above translation cites additional suspect MERS-CoV cases in Taif, which is just east of Mecca.  The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health (KSA-MoH) announced two confirmed cases in Taif (65 and 68F) on June 14.  WHO followed with a June 15 announcement but gave the age of one as 45M (and the other as 68F).  Media reports had indicated the two cases were in separate hospitals and a follow-up report indicated the 65 year old had died, while the 68F was still in critical condition.  The most recent MoH reported cited two deaths in Taif, which would have been the two confirmed cases since the number of cases in Taif did not increase.

However, media reports raised questions regarding the nationality of the Taif cases, which is likely linked to reports like the one above which noted that two health care workers (HCWs) were infected, including one from India and another from the Philippines.  The report of 7 cases, including two HCWs, raises concerns that the cluster may be linked to a nosocomial outbreak similar to outbreaks cited for at least two hospitals in eastern KSA.  The increasing number of hospial clusters, including infection of HCWs, has striking similaroties with the SARS coronavirus outbreaks in 2003.

Such an outbreak in hospital(s) in Taif would raise serious concerns regarding the upcoming influx of pilgrims for Ramadan, since hospitals in Taif are used to screen Mecca pilgrims.  Hospitals in Jeddah are also used, but a case (2 year old) in Jeddah was cited in the latest MoH report, raising concerns that local infections will lead to nosocomial outbreaks in hospitals flanking Mecca (see map).

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