Thursday, September 19, 2013

MERS Deaths Rise as WHO Updates Guidelines for Labs

MERS Corona Virus
Three more cases of MERS have been reported by the Saudi Ministry of Health. Two of the latest cases were fatal.  According to the report, this brings the total infections in Saudi Arabia to 107 with 49 deaths. If confirmed by the World Health Organization, it will bring the total MERS cases worldwide to 117 including 56 which later died.

Two of the latest cases occurred in Medina in the western part of the country. They involve a 37 year old who is currently in intensive care and a 75 year old woman with chronic medical conditions who passed away. The third infection resulted in the death of an 83 year old man from Riyadh who also had pre-existing illnesses.

With millions of Hajj pilgrims traveling to Saudi Arabia over the next month, the World Health Organization (WHO) has released revised guidelines which includes updated information on testing for MERS in the laboratory and collection and shipment of specimens from suspected victims.

According to the WHO guidelines,
"Access to timely and accurate laboratory testing of samples from cases under investigation is an essential part of the surveillance of this emerging infection. All countries should have access to reliable testing either nationally, or internationally, in laboratories willing to perform primary detection or confirmatory testing. WHO can assist Member States to access testing internationally should the need arise"

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