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Published On: Sat, Jul 27th, 2013

Saudi Arabia report another MERS death, OIE says there is no evidence that people have become infected through contact with animals

The Saudi Arabian Health Ministry announced another fatality related to infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, according to a health ministry release Thursday.

 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Image/CDC

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)
Image/CDC

The media statement says: “Within the framework of the epidemiological surveillance of the novel Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), the Ministry of Health (MOH) has announced that one confirmed case of this virus, aged 83, has been recorded in Asir.

“Within the same vein, MOH has announced the death of one case, who had been previously announced to be infected with this virus in Asir.”

With this update, the Kingdom has reported 71 cases of MERS-CoV and 39 deaths since the outbreak began last year.

Globally, there has been 91 cases reported and 46 fatalities, just over a 50 percent fatality rate.

In addition, there has been some speculation of an animal source of this previously never reported coronavirus in humans.

The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) released Q & A this week to address these concerns. In the statement they say that to date MERS-CoV has not been detected in animals.

They also say there no evidence that humans contracted the virus from animals. However, there is also a possibility that MERS CoV may have evolved from other coronaviruses that have been circulating in certain animals.

There has been previous reports of bats and camels as having a role in MERS-CoV. The OIE says although a relative to this virus has been detected in bat species more evidence is needed to directly link the MERS CoV to bats or any other animal species.

Concerning camels, currently there is no strong evidence to suggest that camels are a source of infection for human cases of MERS. MERS CoV has not been identified in camels and current information from human cases does not suggest that exposure to camels is an important risk factor.

However, the OIE says it is important to remain open minded about all potential sources of exposure for human cases until more evidence is available.

Current as of July 26 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

Countries Cases (Deaths)
France 2 (1)
Italy 3 (0)
Jordan 2 (2)
Qatar 2 (1)
Saudi Arabia 71 (39)
Tunisia 2 (0)
United Kingdom (UK) 3 (2)
United Arab Emirates (UAE) 6 (1)
Total 91 (46)

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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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