Saudi Hospitals Blamed on MERS Cases Surge

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There is variety of breaches in MERS control and infection prevention measures in Saudi hospitals and health facilities. That was the conclusion of the newest assessment made by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The assessment itself was written by an expert team sent by the organization. The group had the task to help Saudi Arabia’s health authorities to estimate the new MERS cases. In addition, it had to examine how Jeddah hospitals treated patients with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus. Over a span of five days, WHO’s team made assessments on the recent increase of the MERS infections in the country, as well as other aspects which included the prevention of the disease and its epidemiological factors.

The findings, however, were not positive direction. According to the World Health Organization, the new surge in the number of MERS cases in Saudi Arabia should be blamed on hospitals in the country. Experts have found that many health facilities in Jeddah fail to follow the control and infection prevention measures offered by WHO. That has quickly led to a rapid spread of the virus.
In addition, the organization notes that many of the new cases have emerged inside Saudi health facilities and not in households or within a community. Another disturbing conclusion made by WHO’s experts is that Saudi health care workers were greatly unfamiliar with the measures for controlling and preventing the spread of MERS-CoV. As a result, 20% of all new reported cases in Saudi Arabia were health care workers.

Also, the World Health Organization admitted that many things about the disease continue to remain a mystery. For instance, it is still not clear why most of the primary community case patients are men over the age of 50. It is not known why some of the infected show acute symptoms, whereas others have just mild or even no symptoms at all. Nevertheless, WHO has not found any changes in the transmission patters of the virus.

The World Health Organization continues to urge countries to keep a close eye on all cases of severe acute respiratory infections they register. However, it stated that countries do no need to impose trade or travel restrictions.

By the end of last week, the reported global MERS cases were estimated at 489, while the deaths – 126. In addition, a few days ago, the virus reached the U.S. after one person was hospitalized with MERS symptoms. The United States is the 16th country affected by MERS. Other, that recently joined this list include Greece, Egypt, Malaysia and the Philippines.

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