Sunday, November 10, 2013

Oman Reports First MERS Death as Toll Rises in Saudi Arabia

MERS corona virus
The Gulf country of Oman has reported its first fatality from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has reported another death from this dangerous illness, which has sickened at least 154 and claimed 64 lives.

The Omani man was 68 years old and had several pre-existing medical conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart failure.

The report states he had a 'seven-day history of fever, cough, expectoration and shortness of breath'.  He was receiving appropriate medical care, but his condition continued to deteriorate and on Saturday his lungs failed and he passed away, according to this article in Gulf News.

Oman’s Minister of Health, Dr Ahmad Bin Mohammad Al Saeedi said, "We have examined 129 cases over the last year and all tested negative for this virus. We have a strong surveillance system which has also been appreciated by the WHO" (World Health Organization).

The man was the first case of MERS in Oman and was publicly reported by health officials on October 30. Tests for the virus among contacts of the victim have so far proved negative.

Nearby Saudi Arabia is reporting another MERS death. No details on this case have been released, but the Saudi Kingdom has been the source of most of the infections and deaths. The Ministry of Health website states there have been 127 cases of MERS in the Saudi Kingdom and 53 fatalities.

Like influenza and SARS, the virus can cause pneumonia like symptoms including fever, cough and difficulty breathing. However, MERS can also lead to renal failure and has proven to be particularly lethal to those with underlying and chronic medical conditions.

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