Monday, December 2, 2013

New Mother Dies of MERS in UAE Family Cluster

The MERS corona virus
In a tragic outcome, a 32 year old woman who was eight months pregnant and diagnosed with MERS has died in the UAE.

The Jordanian woman, who was in the last stage of her pregnancy and in critical condition, gave birth by emergency Cesarean Section, according to health officials in Abu Dhabi and the World Health Organization.

WHO reports the baby boy is doing well. The infant seems to be free of the virus for now, according to Gregory Hartl, head of Public Relations and Social Media for the World Health Organization, via Twitter.  But the WHO statement cautions, "Further investigations into close contacts of the family, the newborn baby, and healthcare workers are on-going."

First reported on November 29, Infectious Disease chief, Dr. Asim Malik at Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi warned, “This is the first ever involving a pregnant woman so we do not know anything about the possible outcome."

She and her husband became ill with the virus around November 15 and were admitted to the hospital, according to the report issued on Friday. Earlier today, WHO had reported both parents were in critical condition.

The woman is the mother of an eight year old boy who was admitted to the hospital with the virus as reported earlier today. Authorities say his symptoms are mild and his illness was discovered through routine contact testing of the expectant couples' family.

The WHO reports that the source of the infection in this family cluster is unknown. They have not traveled recently and had no contact with animals or other MERS cases. Hartl tweeted, "There is still a big mystery around many MERS cases."

The WHO statement issued today reports 163 confirmed cases and 70 fatalities. These new numbers reflect two recent deaths in Qatar on November 19 and November 29, however, the statement does not include the tragic death of the young mother reported today.

WHO recommends those at severe risk of disease to avoid farms or barns where the disease is known to be present. For others, they suggest hand washing, avoiding contact with sick animals and general good hygiene practices.

According to the statement, recommendations regarding travel and trade restrictions have not changed. "WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event nor does it currently recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions."

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