Monday, 8 June 2015

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV): unhappy trails...

An updated map of the countries that have had a visit from, and in 52% of those, had some local transmission of, the MERS-CoV.

South Korea is the first country I have seen that has jumped three colour levels between updates. No mean feat.

So we have 25 countries that have hosted a MERS-CoV infected person, and 13 of those have gone on to have local transmission - new cases from that case on their soil.

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It gets bigger!!!
In the meantime, 7,000,000 pilgrims are expected in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah between mid-May (around the 19th May) and mid-July.[1] Over 2,000,000 had already performed the Umrah pilgrimage to The Holy City of  Makkah in Makkah province, between November 2014 and May 2015.[1,2] We're in the second phase of Umrah now - in the lead-up to the fasting month of Ramadan which begins on the 18th June 2015. 

Remember Saudi Arabia? That's where over 80% of all MERS-CoV cases have originated. That percentage has dropped a little of late thanks to the clusters in South Korea. Given the amazingly, incredibly, ultra-tiny (yes, that small) number of cases that have reportedly arisen during Umrah or Hajj (Septembee 21-26 in 2015)  in previous years, there is absolutely no reason to think 2015 will differ. Even if there have been recent cases in Makkah province. And a hospital cluster in Ash Sharqiyah (eastern province).

Clearly, MERS-CoV is not easy to catch even when so many different people, so many different states of underlying chronic disease, immune compromise, pre-existing infection, height, weight, age all come into contact within the zone of hotness that is Saudi Arabia.  

Which leaves me with one comment after a large batch of 23 cases was announced this morning - bringing the total to 87 from South Korea....look to the infection control South Korea!

References..

  1. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/05/19/7-million-Umrah-pilgrims-expected-in-Saudi-in-next-2-months.html
  2. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/01/28/Over-one-million-Umrah-pilgrims-pass-through-Jeddah.html