Tuesday 18 March 2014

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases rise in march: Festival-related?

It's been nearly 3-weeks since my last update so I'm well overdue to look at what's changed.
Click on image to enlarge.

A quick post first up showing the accumulating cases by the region in which the person probably caught their infection and the week in which they became ill - or the week in which the case was publicly reported by a Ministry if no onset date was provided.

Why the recent uptick in cases; ~9 reported this month so far? 

There have been a few things going on in Riyadh (a city of 6 million, in which 10/11 most recent cases have been acquired) that might link people with camels (the likely intermediate or primary host of MERS-CoV in the region). 

I have listed a few other events listed that may also be pertinent for MERS-CoV acquisition &/or transmission, from whatever source, in a post 29-Jan [5]. To add to that there is this:
  • The 17-day long 29th annual Janadriyah Festival kicked off Feb-12. It showcases the national heritage and culture of the Saudi lifestyle. Includes camel rides and racing [3,4] and is visited by millions of people from all over the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (1.4mil by 26-Feb) [2][3]. But not just locals; tourists come from all other regions of the Arabian peninsula too, including the UAE which a "guest of honor" this year. Of note: the recent 68-year old male UAE MERS-CoV case had exposure to animals from his own farm and is not noted as having traveled.

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