Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Middle East Virus

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Middle East Virus

Article excerpt

A total of 55 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with a newly discovered virus were reported to WHO by nine countries between September 2012 and 7 June 2013.

The virus is distantly related to the virus that caused severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and was recently named Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) by the Coronavirus Study Group of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. The first documented MERS-CoV cases occurred in Jordan in early 2012.

Since then, the overall number of cases has been low, but the virus has caused 31 deaths (about 60% of patients) and many of them in people who had one or more major chronic conditions.

Forty of the 55 cases to date occurred in Saudi Arabia. The rest were reported from other countries in the Middle East (Qatar and the United Arab Emirates), from Tunisia in North Africa, and from France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Europe.

There appear to be three main epidemiological patterns: first, sporadic cases that occur in communities, the sources of which are unknown; second, clusters of infections in families where there appears to have been person-to-person transmission; and third, clusters of infections in health-care facilities. …

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