Riyadh man dies of MERS; 5 new avian flu cases reported

A man, wearing a mouth and nose mask, checks his phone as he leaves the hospital's emergency department, in this file photo, in Riyadh.(AFP)
Updated 07 January 2018
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Riyadh man dies of MERS; 5 new avian flu cases reported

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Health announced that a 57-year-old man died of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Riyadh on Wednesday, and that an 80-year-old who contracted the virus was “stable.”
The 57-year-old has been classified as the first MERS victim of 2018, according to the ministry’s website.
“MERS is endemic in camels in the Arabian peninsula and surrounding countries,” Abdullah Assiri, deputy minister for infectious diseases, told Arab News on Saturday. “Human infections are sporadic and linked to direct or indirect exposure to camels or camels’ environment.”
He added that “human-to-human transmission is not sustained in the community, however, in health care settings, the transmission is much more efficient. In 2017, MERS outbreaks were largely prevented or controlled.”
He explained that this was achieved through implementation of strict infection-control measures including triage of patients in emergency rooms and hemodialysis units, early detection and isolation of suspected MERS cases, and adherence to hand hygiene and the proper use of protective equipment.
“Trials on therapeutic agents are ongoing and the progress in developing a camel vaccine is encouraging. The animal vaccine will probably be the most effective way to control the disease,” Assiri said.
Dr. Mohamed Abdel Rahman, infection control consultant, stated that awareness among health care workers was vital.
He also advised caution when dealing with camels, as some are intermediary incubators of the virus, again stressing the need for proper hand hygiene and protective clothing. Camel milk should be boiled before drinking, he warned, adding, “There’s no vaccine or specific treatment for MERS.”
Meanwhile, five new H5N8 avian flu cases were announced on Friday in Riyadh, Ahsa and Al-Duwadmi, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture said.
Field teams in Kharj, Hiraimla, Dharma, Ahsa, Buraidah, Bikairiyah, and Al-Duwadmi have tracked and culled infected birds, while the Riyadh-based Veterinary Diagnosis Laboratory has so far received 2,449 samples during the latest outbreak of the H5N8 virus.
Last week, the ministry banned all poultry farms and bird breeders from transporting live birds between different regions of the Kingdom unless they have the necessary permits.
A shipment of 640 birds being smuggled from Jeddah to Madinah, and a similar shipment being transported from Riyadh to Makkah, were seized this week.
Violators of the bird transport ban will reportedly receive a fine of up to SR1 million ($267,000) and a maximum of five years in prison. Their licenses will be suspended or canceled, the ministry said.


‘Saudi Arabia’s stability, security a red line for Muslim world’

The Supreme Council of the Muslim World League (MWL) holds its 43rd session in Makkah. (SPA)
Updated 21 October 2018
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‘Saudi Arabia’s stability, security a red line for Muslim world’

  • The council praised the Kingdom’s pioneering role in the Muslim world, its religious importance, its history of supporting international security and peace efforts

JEDDAH: The Supreme Council of the Muslim World League (MWL) held its 43rd session in Makkah, with senior scholars and ministers from Muslim countries in attendance.
The council expressed solidarity with the Saudi leadership and people, and condemned attempts to target the Kingdom, saying its stability and security are a red line for the Muslim world.
The council praised the Kingdom’s pioneering role in the Muslim world, its religious importance, its history of supporting international security and peace efforts, and its fight against extremism and terrorism.
The great place that the Kingdom occupies in the hearts of Muslims is founded on a sincere and firm belief in its care for Muslim sanctity, the council said, adding that targeting Saudi stability also affects international stability.
The council discussed several matters, including the Palestinian cause, developments in Syria and Yemen, the tragedy of Myanmar’s Rohingya people, the fight against extremist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Daesh, and the importance of promoting dialogue among followers of different religions and cultures.
It also discussed the well-being of Muslim minorities in non-Muslim countries, expressing regret and concern about Islamophobia, and calling for peaceful coexistence.
The council urged Muslims in these countries to fulfil their duty to educate their children, and protect them from deviant ideologies and groups that use religion as a pretext to justify terrorism and extremism.
It also urged Muslims in these countries to use legitimate channels to enjoy their just religious and cultural rights, to contribute to societal development, and to support stability and integration.
The council highlighted the MWL’s efforts and international presence in influential platforms, especially in the West.
Islamophobia is creating serious rifts in multicultural societies and damaging the social contract based on equal citizenship, the council said.
It expressed its full support for the MWL’s programs and activities that highlight the truth about Islam and its values, promote intellectual and religious awareness among Muslim minorities, and spread the values of toleration, moderation and peace.
The council reviewed the MWL’s efforts against radicalization and terrorism, including international collaborative programs, conferences, forums, statements and visits to Muslim and non-Muslim countries.
It noted the MWL’s efforts to promote dialogue among followers of different religions and cultures, including its secretary-general’s meeting with Vatican leaders, the signing of a historic cooperation agreement with the Pontifical Council for Interfaith Dialogue, and organizing an international peace conference at Oxford University.
The council agreed to establish an international center for cultural exchanges, as part of its support for the Conference on Cultural Rapprochement between the US and the Muslim World.
The council stressed the importance of building good East-West relations and launching initiatives to foster cooperation, cultural exchanges and positive values.
“Only 10 percent of our common principles are sufficient to bring peace and harmony to our world,” said MWL Secretary-General Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa.