MERS coronavirus appears in Yemen for the first time, possible virus mutation suggested
The Republic of Yemen, a country on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, has reported its first case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) today, according to a report in the Egyptian news source, Ahram Online.
“Medical personnel have recorded one case of the coronavirus in Sanaa and the victim is a Yemeni man who works as an aeronautics engineer,” the semi-official al-Thawra newspaper quoted Public Health Minister Ahmed al-Ansi as saying.
“The ministry is working in effective cooperation with the World Health Organisation to confront this virus and is in direct and constant communication with all hospitals to receive information on any other suspected cases,” Ansi said.
There has been a recent uptick in MERS-CoV cases recently with newer reports of clusters from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Jordan reporting their fifth case. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.
In addition, in a report by Queensland virologist, Dr. Ian MacKay, it appears that human-to-human transmission of MERS-CoV is happening more easily now. MacKay, in his blog, Virology Down Under, asked Professor Ali Mohamed Zaki, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University in Cairo about the recent , increased numbers of healthcare worker infections, a possibly younger age group and less severe disease where Zaki replied, “..more cases in humans appeared in hospitals in Jeddah, which may indicate increased virus transmission from man to man due to mutation in the genome leading to virus adaptation. This event may be associated with loss of some virulence elements in the virus.”
The latest numbers from the World Health Organization are 212 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV globally, including 88 deaths as of Apr.11.