2 more deaths from MERS virus

Updated 25 April 2014
0

2 more deaths from MERS virus

RIYADH: Two more patients who had been infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus have died, the Ministry of Health said on Thursday.
The ministry said the new cases from the SARS-related coronavirus were reported in Riyadh, Jeddah and the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.
The deaths bring to 83 the number of people who have died in the kingdom since contracting the virus in September 2012. The kingdom has recorded a total of 285 confirmed cases.
On Monday, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah removed the country’s health minister following a recent spike in MERS cases.
Health Minister Abdullah Al-Rabeeah was relieved of his post on Tuesday and replaced by Labor Minister Adel Fakeih in a concurrent capacity.
Saudi Arabia has seen a jump in MERS infections in recent weeks, with many of the new cases recorded in Jeddah.
Nonetheless, officials are saying the outbreak is not an epidemic.
Abdullah Mirghalani, assistant deputy Haj minister, had been quoted as saying the Health Ministry had not declared the situation an emergency.
On a positive note, a Saudi businessman claimed that Bioven, a vaccine developed by an American professor using enzymes derived from poisonous snakes, could be used to treat MERS.
Turki bin Manie, an agent for a foreign medical company, said he would discuss the possibility with health ministry officials.
MERS emerged in the Middle East in 2012 and is from the same family as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus, which killed around 800 people worldwide after first appearing in China in 2002.
MERS can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia.
Although the worldwide number of MERS infections is relatively small, the more than 40 percent death rate among confirmed cases and the spread of the virus beyond the Middle East is keeping scientists and public health officials on alert.

• Additional reporting by the Associated Press

Related

Prevention is key to containing MERS

0

Prevention is key to containing MERS

On Facebook, Filipino workers based in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle East countries have started posting messages about the dreaded Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus, a sure sign that the disease is causing jitters among the expatriate workforce in the region.
Is there a cure? How does one get it? What are the symptoms? These are some of the basic questions asked in social media threads and the lack of authoritative answers raises a reader’s anxiety levels even more.
The best preventive tool would be a government health hot line that can dispense basic information about MERS in a variety of languages. All diplomatic posts should also receive a proper briefing with basic instructions that they can give out to their nationals in their respective languages.
Here in the Philippines, it was reported that a male nurse from the UAE tested positive for MERS virus, and health authorities in Dubai immediately informed the Philippine side about such findings. Later, the nurse tested negative for the virus thus leading the country to heave a collective sigh of relief.
But the erroneous news raised a couple of serious questions — if the male nurse indeed tested positive while in UAE, how come he was allowed to leave the airport? It also raised questions about the virus itself — can one manifest symptoms of the virus and test positive for it and then lose it a day or two later? Indeed, this respiratory ailment is still the subject of professional medical scrutiny and hopefully, the world would be getting more specific answers soon.
In Saudi Arabia, MERS coronavirus has so far claimed 75 lives out of 244 infected individuals. This incidence is fairly low and most of the transmissions appear to involve patient-to-medic encounters, hence the desire of Saudi health authorities not to cause undue panic over it. Access to information through authoritative channels may yet be the best tool to deal with the growing public interest into the prevalence of the disease.
“It is important that families, friends and members of their local communities fully understand all that must be known about the MERS coronavirus,” Philippine Health Secretary Enrique Ona told a news conference. The concern of the Philippine government is quite understandable — the Middle East is home to more than a million Filipino overseas workers. The Philippine government has to make sure that workers about to leave for the Middle East are informed about health risks including, but not limited to, MERS-CoV.
By arming our own workers with such information, they’d be able to promote better hygiene among their peers. Like all respiratory ailments, basic prevention measures include constant washing of hands, covering one’s mouth with a tissue when sneezing and immediately throwing that tissue away and avoiding close contact with sick people.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) has not declared MERS-CoV as an epidemic, it is vital that all countries cooperate in preventing its spread. Information is key especially among expat workers in the Middle East, some of whom may be too timid or frightened to approach medical authorities for help.

Email: [email protected]

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point-of-view

Saudi aid agency steps up relief work on Yemen’s west coast

Updated 22 April 2018
0

Saudi aid agency steps up relief work on Yemen’s west coast

  • KSRelief has carried out more than 200 relief programs and projects had been carried out by the center in Yemen
  • Yemeni government bewails world silence on abuses committed by Iranian-backed Houthi militia 

JEDDAH: King Salman Relief and Humanitarian Aid Center (KSRelief) has distributed 2,000 bags of wheat to displaced people from the western coast of Hodeida governorate to Aden as part of welfare operations in Yemen.
Yemen’s Minister of Local Administration and Higher Relief Committee chairman Abdul Raqeeb Fatah said KSRelief was seen as a beacon for humanitarian work.
More than 200 relief programs and projects had been carried out by the center in Yemen.
The Yemeni government condemned the silence of the UN and the international community on abuses committed by Iranian-backed Houthi militia against people in the Al-Hima area of Taiz governorate.
Rebels had continued indiscriminate shelling of Hima’s villages, forcing people from their homes, Fatah said. Fatah said the militia’s crimes in Taiz districts were contrary to international law. He called on the global community and humanitarian organizations to take a firm position on all Houthi crimes.
Yesterday, KSRelief distributed 3,500 cartons of dates in the villages of Izzala Al-Jumah in Al-Mukha directorate in Taiz governorate, benefiting 21,000 people.