Sunday, February 23, 2014

ECDC Issues MERS Update: 186 Cases; 87 Deaths

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has released an update on the MERS virus in it's February 22 Communicable Disease Threats Report.

The report breaks down the numbers of MERS cases confirmed since April, 2012 by country and mortality:

MERS regional map

MERS has been confirmed in five countries outside the Middle East, accounting for twelve confirmed infections and six deaths. All of these victims had some link to the region, either through recent travel to one of the effected countries or had been in close contact with a confirmed or probable case.

MERS cases / deaths by country
Twenty-two cases in Saudi Arabia and three in the United Arab Emirates are considered asymptomatic, or without symptoms.

Although the virus can be spread through close contact or in health care facilities, as in a hospital cluster in Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia, researchers concluded it was not capable of sustained human to human transmission.

Detail of non-Saudi states
In order to better understand risk factors and epidemiology, the authors recommend, "investigative studies, including international case-control, serological, environmental, and animal-human interface studies."

The report emphasized the need for, "further review and strengthening of tools, such as standardised case definitions and surveillance, and further emphasis on infection control and prevention."

Since April, 2012, the ECDC has reported 186 laboratory confirmed cases of MERS, including 87 deaths.

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