May 09

Deadly MERS virus reaches Lebanon (RT, May 9, 2014):

Lebanese officials have confirmed that the first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus has reached the country.

Health Minister Wael Abu Faour said Thursday that all the necessary safety measures have been undertaken by the clinic which “has led to a significant improvement in the patient’s health and he was allowed to leave the hospital.”

Lebanese news service, Naharnet, said the health ministry officials reported that the patient had recently returned from visiting a Persian Gulf country.
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Jul 04

Qatari patient dies from MERS-CoV at London’s St Thomas’ Hospital, brings global death count to 43 (The Global Dispatch, July 4, 2013)

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Jun 29

All Confirmed Hospitalized Al Hasa MERS-CoV Dialysis Cases Died (Recombinomics, June 27, 2013)

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Jun 23

Deadly sars-like virus ‘had origins in UAE’ (The National, June 23, 2013):

Of the 64 laboratory-confirmed cases reported so far, more than half have died.

New Mers-Coronavirus continues to smoulder BBC News, June 23, 2013)

8 MERS PCR Confirmations In Asymptomatic HCWs & Children (Recombinomics, June 23, 2013)

– MERS PCR Confirmed In Asymptomatic HCWs In Taif KSA (Recombinomics, June 22, 2013)

New death in Saudi Arabia from SARS-like coronavirus MERS (Reuters, June 22, 2013)

MERS-CoV Hospital Outbreak Causes Significant Morbidity (Medscape, June 21, 2013)

Person-to-Person Transmission of Lethal SARS-Like Virus Identified (MPR/HealthDay News, June 20, 2013):

Person-to-person transmission of the novel Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has been described in a cluster of health care-associated infections in Saudi Arabia, according to research published online June 19 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

MERS-CoV Easily Spreads In Hospitals (Medical News Today, June 20, 2013):

A team of experts who traveled to Saudi Arabia have reported that the new Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is easily transmitted in healthcare settings, posing a serious public health threat.

The researchers from Johns Hopkins University studied how the virus spread in four different Saudi hospitals. They published their findings in The New England Journal of Medicine.

MERS-CoV is much deadlier than the coronavirus responsible for the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, the authors wrote. MERS-CoV has killed 38 people worldwide so far, according to WHO (World Health Organization). Thirty-two of those deaths occurred in Saudi Arabia. According to the researchers, MERS-CoV kills 60% of the people it infects.

The virus is capable of person-to-person transmission and circulate in healthcare settings with “considerable morbidity.”

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Jun 05

Why MERS virus is so scary (CNN, June 2, 2013):

Editor’s note: Laurie Garrett is senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

(CNN)The head of the World Health Organization warned the world this week of a new virus, awkwardly dubbed MERS-CoV, found in Saudi Arabia.

“Looking at the overall global situation, my greatest concern right now is the novel coronavirus,” Margaret Chan said, calling it “a threat to the entire world.”

“We understand too little about this virus when viewed against the magnitude of its potential threat,” the director general said in her closing speech to the 66th session of the World Health Assembly. “Any new disease that is emerging faster than our understanding is never under control.

“These are alarm bells and we must respond. The novel coronavirus is not a problem that any single affected country can keep to itself or manage all by itself.”

With just 49 cases of the new disease reported since June 2012, it may seem puzzling that Chan named the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus — MERS CoV or MERS for short — the greatest threat to world health today.

But Hong Kong-born Chan can be forgiven a strong reaction. After all, she managed the response to SARS there in 2003, and MERS is a close genetic cousin. At least 8,000 people in 30 countries contracted SARS in 2003; 774 died of the disease.

No doubt her sense of urgency also stems from the apparently high mortality rate: To date, 27 of the 49 people who have caught the disease have perished, or 52%. Although the majority of illnesses have been in the Saudi Arabia, cases have emerged in seven countries.

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May 31

Italy announces first case of SARS-like coronavirus (Reuters, May 31, 2013):

Italy reported its first case of the SARS-like coronavirus on Friday, a 45-year-old man who had been travelling in Jordan, the health ministry said.

The patient was in good condition and was being monitored in isolation, the ministry said in a statement. He was admitted to a hospital in Tuscany with a high fever, a cough and breathing difficulties.

A resident of Italy with foreign nationality, the man recently spent 40 days in Jordan where one of his sons was suffering from an unspecified flu.

Saudi Arabia has been the most affected by the virus, with 39 cases and 25 deaths so far, according to data from the World Health Organization.

The virus, which can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia, has spread from the Gulf to France, Britain and Germany. The WHO has called it the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

It is from the same viral family that triggered the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that swept the world in late 2003 and killed 775 people.


WHO: Coronavirus ‘threat to the world’

Newly discovered virus takes more lives, spreads (CNN, May 30, 2013):

A new SARS-like virus recently found in humans continues to spread — with the worldwide total now at 49, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

Of the 49 known infections with the MERS-CoV virus, 27 have resulted in death, the organization said.

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