MERS – Saudi Arabia

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Seven people in Saudi Arabia were diagnosed with Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV) infection between January and March 2021. These cases were reported from Riyadh, Jeddah, Al-Ahsaa and Makkah regions.

Three people had contact with camels or consumed camel milk. No information about the source of infection is available for other four cases.

All people were hospitalised 1 to 11 days after the onset of symptoms. Three patients died 1 to 2 weeks after being hospitalised.

The WHO recommends people with diabetes, renal failure or chronic lung disease to avoid contact with camels. People should also avoid drinking raw camel milk.

Photo: MERS-CoV particles electron micrograph.

Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), also known as camel flu, is a viral respiratory infection. Symptoms may range from none, to mild, to severe and frequently include fever, cough, diarrhea and shortness of breath. The disease is typically more severe in those with other health problems.

MERS is a coronavirus believed to be originally from bats.

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