Monday, November 18, 2013

Second Probable MERS Case in Spain

Both women traveled to Hajj together
Image from
The Spanish Health Ministry reported a second probable case of MERS in Spain. The latest infection involves a woman who traveled to Saudi Arabia for Hajj with the woman who was reported ill with the virus on November 6.

The Center for Infectious Disease and Policy (CIDRAP) is reporting both women have recovered and have been released from hospitals. Health officials cannot determine if one woman caught the virus from the other or if they were both infected by the same source.

All contacts for the women have so far tested negative, including fellow passengers on the flight from Saudi Arabia and contacts since returning home to Spain.

The women have tested positive in preliminary tests for the virus. The cases are listed as probable because the World Health Organization (WHO) requires further testing for verification. According to Canada's Metro News, Spanish authorities are awaiting results for official confirmation.

There have been 157 confirmed cases so far and 66 fatalities. There have been at least 17 probable MERS cases, but due to inadequate samples or testing procedures which do not meet WHO's standards, the probable cases cannot be considered WHO confirmed.

Meanwhile, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) is not convinced that camels are the source of the virus in humans.  According to the OIE statement, "Currently there is no strong evidence to consider that camels are a source of infection for human cases of MERS."

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