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Saudi reports at least 20 new MERS cases due to misdiagnosis

Saudi reports at least 20 new MERS cases due to misdiagnosis

The World Health Organisation says outbreak in Riyadh was started by a 49-year-old woman

Saudi Arabia has notified the World Health Organisation (WHO) of 22 new cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) between June 16-18.

However, at least 20 of the cases were due to a misdiagnosis in a hospital in Riyadh, according to the WHO.

A 49 year-old woman, who was admitted to the hospital on June 10 with unrelated symptoms, was first triaged in the emergency department.

“She was then admitted to the vascular surgery ward, but MERS-CoV infection was not considered. She was not isolated and was managed in a multi-bed room. During this time, more than 49 HCWs and patients were exposed,” the statement said.

After she was confirmed as a MERS-CoV case, a rapid response team was dispatched and found that 20 of those screened at the hospital and in the household have tested positive for the virus.

They include 17 healthcare contacts and three household contacts. Eighteen of them are asymptomatic.

The vascular surgery ward was later closed and elective procedure were rescheduled.

“The necessary control measures are being put in place,” the statement said.

MERS, a virus similar to SARS, is a respiratory disease that causes coughing, fever and breathing problems, and can lead to pneumonia and kidney failure.

The virus is known to be contracted through exposure to infected individuals, from hospitals and by direct contact with camels – believed to be carriers of the virus.
The virus began in Saudi Arabia and since then has spread to most of the Gulf states.

Also read: Two new cases of MERS virus confirmed in Abu Dhabi

Globally, since September 2012, WHO has been notified of 1,761 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including at least 629 related deaths.

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