Friday, August 23, 2013

Progression of Italian MERS Cluster Described

In this report, from Eurosurveillance, researchers took a close look at the development of the Italian cluster of MERS, starting with the first patient who had recently returned from the middle east.

The narrative begins on May 24, 2013 with a healthy man in his mid-40's who was preparing to return home following a 40 day visit to Jordan. He began to develop symptoms the day before he left and those continued through his flight home and through the 27th as he returned to work at an unnamed hotel.

His symptoms got worse, and on May 28, visited a hospital emergency room in Florence where he was admitted with pneumonia like symptoms. Following tests the next day, MERS was diagnosed by the Regional Reference Laboratory for Influenza at the University of Florence and later confirmed by the National Influenza Centre.

On May 29 the man's 18 month old niece developed mild symptoms and tested positive for MERS. They had spent all day together on May 26 and been in close contact.

On May 31 a co-worker began to show signs of influenza, with fever and cough. She was tested and also confirmed to have MERS.

All three members of this cluster recovered fully in less than two weeks. The report stresses however, that all were previously healthy and cases tend to be milder when discovered through contact tracing rather than patients who present to hospitals with acute symptoms.

In all, 115 contacts with the first patient were monitored, 5 contacts for the toddler and 24 contacts with the co-worker, totalling 144. None of these developed symptoms over the next ten days.

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