Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Another reported MERS infection in Saudi Arabia

Yesterday, Saudi Arabia reported a new case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) infection, a 72-year-old male from Riyadh. (link) This is the first MERS infection reported from Saudi Arabia since July 10 (link) and the first MERS cases reported for Riyadh since July 7. (link)

Because the incubation period of MERS is reported to be between 5 and 14 days, and assuming the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health is reporting all MERS infections in the country, this newly reported case does not seem to be a result of human-to-human transmission but rather an independent infection most likely from a non-human animal source. It is unlikely, but possible, that this individual contracted the coronavirus from an asymptomatic human carrier. There is no reason to believe that this case resulted from a deliberate release of the coronavirus. See The discrepant epidemiology of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) for a hypothesis that MERS infections are a result of a bio-terrorist plot.

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