Several outbreaks of MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) have been reported in hospitals in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, during this past week. According to a computer translation of a current media report (link), as many as 21 locally confirmed MERS cases have been identified in Jeddah. These cases include nine cases at King Abdulaziz University Hospital, seven at King Fahd Hospital, and five at King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital. These outbreaks include both doctors and nurses. In addition, the report suggest that the Jeddah National Guard hospital, King Abdulaziz Medical City, will also process MERS cases if necessary. The map below depicts the locations of these four hospitals in the Jeddah area.
The source of the MERS coronavirus have been reported to be camels for some human cases. The source of infection for the cases in Jeddah is unclear, but at least several health care workers have been infected and one died indicating that some of these cases are a result of hospital acquired infections. This current outbreak in Jeddah, the hospital outbreaks in 2013 in Al Hofuf in Eastern Saudi Arabia, (link) and the initial suspected hospital cluster in Jordan in 2012 (link) demonstrate that the MERS coronavirus can be transmitted easily from human to human in hospital settings.