Wednesday, 4 June 2014

MERS-CoV charting on hold after 113 new cases reported without details...[UPDATED]


With the announcement overnight that a bunch (133 detections including 92 fatal cases) of old laboratory confirmed MERS-CoV detection had been found, but without any specific data to identify them, I will not be posting any further MERS-related charts. I believe there is a big WHO Disease Outbreak News update coming soon and it will provide all the detail - we bloggers will need to take a week off from our day jobs to add this detail to our line lists - but I'll resume charts some time after those data appear.

This is all obviously being dumped at the feet of the stood-down Deputy Minster of Public Health whose reputation for total control was well reported. Let's not forget that the Minister, Abdullah al-Rabeeah, was stood down 21-April by King Abdullah. If Prof Memish, who had been moved off the advisory committee when the new Acting Minster of Health took the reins, had the total responsibility (that many attribute to him) of ensuring every lab result was identified and reported and he was in charge of overseeing and releasing those data - then blame away! But that would also mean that the Ministry of Health is not a Ministry, but a one-manistry. I'd like to  believe that was not the case. Was the Ministry really under the complete control of just one Deputy Minister? It's never that simplistic.

This latest event, 6-weeks later and including cases from 2013/2014, points to reporting systems and data collection and collation pipelines that failed miserably. Given the inconsistencies of case reporting by the MOH, I don't have much trouble believing this is not a cover up but an administrative stuff-up. 

Sounds like I'm defending Prof. Memish too - which is not my intention. I do not know the facts. But I'm not sure anyone outside the KSA MOH does. Wouldn't it be great to live in a world where someone came out and just told it like it was? While Prof Memish obviously loved a good paper, and that was his chosen method of science communication (I've talked about that as a less-than-ideal route for public health matters), I personally have no evidence for or against the scope of his control over this latest debacle. 
Highlights of 113 retrospectively added (orange)
laboratory-confirmed detections of MERS
(including 92 deaths)
added to the cases already knwon (blue)
Chart from KSA MOH CCC [3]

A final note. These data [3] are presented on the new-look Ministry of Health's Control & Command Center (CCC).[1] It's a new website address so update your links. 

Let's wait and see whether the CCC lives up to it's name.


References..


  1. Saudi MERS data review shows big jump in number of deaths
    http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/06/03/us-health-mers-saudi-idINKBN0EE1N820140603?feedType=RSS&feedName=health&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&dlvrit=309303
  2. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health Command and Control Center (CCC)http://www.moh.gov.sa/en/CCC/PressReleases/Pages/default.aspx
  3. Update in Statistics: Ministry of Health Institutes New Standards for Reporting of MERS-CoVhttp://www.moh.gov.sa/en/CCC/PressReleases/Pages/mediastatement-2014-06-03-001.aspx