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Saudi Arabia SARS-CoV Cluster Raises Concerns
Recombinomics Commentary 11:45
September 25, 2012

The first case was confirmed in a patient in Saudi Arabia who has since died in Saudi Arabia.

The second case was confirmed in a patient from Qatar who had recently travelled to Saudi Arabia. This patient acquired their infection in the Middle East and had the infection diagnosed after travelling to London.

A further small number of possible cases are also being investigated.

The above comments from the UK Health Protection Agency press reelase raise concerns that the number of SARS-CoV cases is significantly higher than the two confirmed cases (60M and 49M), which were infected by a novel SARS-CoV “closely related to bat cornonavires” which are the natural reservoir for the 2002/2003 SARS-CoV identified in mainland China, which then spread to Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, and Canada from a physician who treated patients in Guangdong Province ands then traveled to Hong Kong for a wedding.

The differences between the latest SARS-CoV and the earlier SARS-CoV remain unclear.  The recent cases had renal failure, which was not seen in the 2002/2003 cases, but severe/fatal disease in older patients has been seen in both groups of cases.

Currently, there are only two confirmed cases, and it remains unclear if the additional fatal case represents a third case or is the first case counted twice (when the case was first noted in Saudi Arabia and then confirmed in the Netherlands), or represents a second fatal case.  Similarly, detail on the above “small number of possible cases” has not been released.

The two confirmed cases have raise awareness and more confirmed cases are expected.  Detail on the cases under investigation, as well as release of the sequences (full or partial) from the two confirmed cases, would be useful.

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