JEDDAH: Kamal Idris
Published — Sunday 20 October 2013
Last update 6 November 2013 3:27 am
The Saudi Ministry of Health has announced another case of the MERS (Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome) coronavirus infection.
“There is another case of MERS infection in Riyadh. The patient is a 73-year old man who was suffering from a number of chronic diseases. He has no recent history of travel outside Riyadh and is being treated in an intensive care unit,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.
This brings the number of the people who have contracted the virus to 120, of whom 51 have died.
The Ministry of Health announced last August that a team of researchers at the ministry, together with researchers from Columbia University and the US Ecolab, were able to isolate the virus from a sample taken from bats in the Kingdom.
One sample taken from a live carnivorous bat that lives on insects showed that it contained a genetic structure that it was 100 percent identical to the MERS virus detected in the first diagnosed case in the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia was visibly relieved at the end of this Haj season when the Ministry of Health, Abdullah Al-Rabeeah declared that there were no epidemics including the MERS virus.
At a press conference, he said that, “The daily reports do not show any evidence of infectious diseases or MERS that would threaten the lives of the pilgrims,” adding that the health conditions of the pilgrims was reassuring. “We were on high alert and field teams were ready around the clock to provide the best health services.”
Al-Rabeeah also said that precautions are taken every Haj season and health challenges are closely monitored. In addition, observations and reports about the facilities and the personnel are taken very seriously.