The U.S. State Department has issued this latest warning for people living or traveling in the country of Saudi Arabia. This information is available to GeoBlue plan members from the GeoBlue website daily…
Health Ministry Advises Continued Precautions amid Spike in MERS Cases
Category: Health and Medical
Severity: 3 (Moderate)
Source: Drum Cussac
10/28/2014 (Saudi Arabia) – The Saudi Health Ministry on Monday, 27 October, warned residents to continue precautions against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) due to a rise in new cases in October. The ministry announced 23 confirmed new cases of the virus in October as compared to 12 cases in September. The 23 cases were reported in the following locations: seven were confirmed in Riyadh, six in Makkah, five in Taif and one each in Madinah, Al-Jouf, Najran, Hofuf and Jubail. Three of the new cases were health workers. The new cases bring the total number in the Kingdom to 777 since the virus was identified in 2012. 331 of these cases have been fatal.
Prior to October, the rate of MERS infection had slowed, which heath officials attributed to possible improved infection control measures introduced in medical facilities. It is unclear at present what may be the cause for the rise in cases, although the rise does underscore the continued threat to public health posed by the virus. Additionally, the discovery of the virus in three health care workers suggests that infection control measures are still falling short.
Personnel are advised to take note of MERS-related announcements from the authorities. Those in-country should pro-actively practice good health hygiene, including frequent hand-washing and avoiding people suffering from acute respiratory infections in confined spaces. Individuals with chronic health conditions are advised to seek medical advice as to the best preventative steps to take to minimise the potential for contraction. Travellers should see a doctor if they develop a fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
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