The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed the first two Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases in Kuwait, while a media report said Spain now has its second probable case in a woman who participated in the recent Hajj in Saudi Arabia.
Kuwait’s cases were reported by the media 11 Nov. The first patient is a 47-year-old man who became ill 30 Oct, was hospitalized 7 Nov , and is in critical condition, the WHO said. News reports had said the man has diabetes and high blood pressure, but the WHO did not mention those details.
The agency said the second patient, also in critical condition, is a 52-year-old man who got sick on 7 Nov and was hospitalized 10 Nov. A media report said the man had performed the Hajj. The WHO statement was silent on that point, but WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl indicated that one of the men has a history of travel to Saudi Arabia.
The country, site of the majority of MERS cases, attracted more than 1.3 million foreign visitors in mid-October for the Hajj pilgrimage.
With the two Kuwait cases, the WHO’s MERS-CoV tally has reached 157 cases with 66 deaths. Kuwait is the sixth country on or near the Arabian Peninsula with confirmed cases, joining Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman. Cases in several European countries and Tunisia have all been linked directly or indirectly to one of those six nations.
Meanwhile, Spanish officials said a woman who traveled to Saudi Arabia with Spain’s first probable MERS case-patient is believed to have the virus. Officials said the two women shared sleeping quarters.
Spain’s health ministry said there was not enough evidence to determine if one of the women caught the disease from the other or if both caught it from a common source.
The ministry said both women have recovered and have been released from hospitals. Also, authorities said that so far the two women’s contacts, including airline passengers and contacts in Spain, have all tested negative for the virus.
Both women tested positive for the virus, but their cases are classified as probable because the WHO case definition requires additional testing.
Hartl commented that the first case in Spain, reported by Spanish authorities on 6 Nov, still “has not been confirmed to WHO standards.” Spanish officials said the case involved a 61-year-old woman.
The full article may be accessed at http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2013/11/who-confirms-kuwaits-mers-cases-spain-cites-new-case
Nov 18 WHO statement