Thursday, March 27, 2014

Two More MERS Cases Reported in UAE

UAE is second to KSA in MERS infections with 16 cases and 6 deaths.
Health officials in the United Arab Emirates are advising citizens 'not to panic' following two more cases of MERS in the country.

The UAE is second only to Saudi Arabia in numbers of confirmed MERS cases, with an unofficial count of 16 cases and six deaths.

The most recent infections were announced by the World Health Organization on March 25 and 26.

The first is a 49 year old man from Abu Dhabi who suffers from chronic medical conditions and had been hospitalized on February 27 and released on March 9. He was re-admitted to the hospital on March 16 and laboratory confirmation of MERS was performed on March 19. He is currently in critical condition.

The man reported no contact with animals or recent travel. However, he had contact with a previously confirmed MERS patient on March 1, during his initial hospitalization.

Health care facilities continue to be a major source of MERS infections, with a recent report showing approximately 50% of new cases are contracted there.

The second case announced by WHO is a 40 year old Omani man who also suffers from chronic medical conditions. He had been hospitalized in Muscat in mid-February and later traveled to the UAE, where he was admitted to the hospital in Abu Dhabi on March 17.

MERS was confirmed on March 21 and on the 24th, he passed away. The man reported no contact with animals or other confirmed MERS patients and had only traveled between Oman and the UAE.

According to The National, Dr. Asim Malik, Infectious Disease chief at Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi, reassured the public that the UAE is following WHO and local health guidelines. "There is no reason to panic." He said rigorous identification and reporting systems have resulted in higher case numbers in the country.

"The reason we have been catching the cases is because of the super vigilant system we have adopted in the UAE, as per WHO recommendations and Health Authority-Abu Dhabi guidelines. We have a very strong infection control system. We are fully prepared.”

Dr. Malik stated that the virus does not seem to be evolving or becoming easier to transmit and that the most severe cases have suffered from underlying medical problems. "We have seen no change in the pattern," he said.

"We have had cases in the country who have succumbed to the disease and we have cases that have survived and that is in keeping with the global picture of the disease, which is approximately 40 to 50 per cent mortality."

The World Health Organization has now confirmed 200 cases of MERS worldwide and 85 deaths.

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