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Published On: Fri, Jul 5th, 2013

MERS coronavirus: Two more cases reported in Saudi Arabia, study says virus does not yet have pandemic potential

The Ministry of Health (MoH) in Saudi Arabia has announced two additional laboratory-confirmed cases and two deaths in previously confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection in Saudi Arabia, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) update today.

This thin section, negatively-stained transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which was formerly known as novel coronavirus. Image/Maureen Metcalfe; Azaibi Tamin

This thin section, negatively-stained transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which was formerly known as novel coronavirus. Image/Maureen Metcalfe; Azaibi Tamin

According to the UN agency, the new cases are a 69 year-old male and a 66 year-old male from Riyadh. Both were admitted to hospital on the 28 June 2013 and are currently in critical condition in an intensive care unit.

In addition, the two deaths in previously confirmed cases are a 63 year-old female from Riyadh and a 75 year-old male from Al Ahsa.

Officially, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a total of 79 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 42 deaths.

(This does not count the Qatari man who died of MERS in London as the WHO has yet to count it.)

In addition, researchers from France’s Institut Pasteur in Paris published a study, Interhuman transmissibility of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus: estimation of pandemic riskwhere they suggest that MERS-CoV does not yet have pandemic potential.

Comparing MERS to SARS, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which affected more than 8,000 people in 37 countries, killing 775, researcher Arnaud Fontanet said “MERS has not spread as rapidly or as widely as SARS did. “SARS’ adaption to humans took just several months, whereas MERS has already been circulating more than a year in human populations without mutating into a pandemic form.”

Saying that the related coronaviruses have many similarities, they do have distinct biology, Fontanet says.

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MERS Cases and Deaths,
April 2012 – Present

Current as of July 5, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

Countries Cases (Deaths)
France 2 (1)
Italy 3 (0)
Jordan 2 (2)
Qatar 2 (0)
Saudi Arabia 62 (36)
Tunisia 2 (0)
United Kingdom (UK) 3 (2)
United Arab Emirates (UAE) 1 (1)
Total 77 (42)

 

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. A conversation about MERS coronavirus: Dispatch Radio - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] asked Racaniello about the diverse conclusions and statements from scientists from the Pasteur Institute in France who suggest that MERS-CoV does not yet have pandemic potential, and the statement in May by  WHO […]

  2. Philippines: Dengue fever surges in the Visayas - The Global Dispatch | Everyday Worldwide says:

    […] […]

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