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Seven more with MERS Jordanian dies

 RIYADH, May 6, (Agencies): Saudi Arabia has reported seven more Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERSCoV) cases over the last twentyfour hours. The new cases, which were reported from Riyadh, Jeddah and Madinah, involve five women and two men, the Saudi Ministry of Health said in a statement on Tuesday. Thus, the total number of MERS-CoV cases since the outbreak of the virus in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2012 has risen to 421, including 115 death cases. The Coronavirus belongs to a larger family of viruses that attacks both humans and animals, causing diseases such as colds and severe respiratory system infections leading to death in many cases. The first case of the disease in the Middle East was discovered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in September 2012, later spreading through the country with 15 patients dead out of 31 cases recorded. A man has died in Jordan after being infected with the MERS virus, a media report said Tuesday, in the kingdom’s second fatality from the disease this year and fourth since 2012.

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus that erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died. Jordan reported the first death from MERS in February, after two fatalities in 2012. “The new death from the coronavirus was one of those infected with the virus who was 56 years old and suffering from anaemia and pneumonia, and who had been hospitalised,” health ministry official Mohammad Abdallat was quoted as saying by state news agency Petra. Health officials said Monday they expect the first patient in the United States diagnosed with a mysterious virus from the Middle East to be released soon from a hospital, though he could continue to be isolated at home. The man has been hospitalized at a hospital in Indiana state since April 28. Officials said he fell ill with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, after flying to the US last month from Saudi Arabia, where he is a health care worker. The patient in the US is an American citizen, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

The World Health Organization said he was in his 60s. Indiana State Department of Health Commissioner William VanNess II said during a news conference with officials from the hospital and CDC on Monday that no health workers or family members who’ve had contact with the patient have tested positive for the virus. The virus has an incubation period of two to 14 days. About 50 hospital employees had contact with the patient before he was placed in isolation and have been isolated at home themselves, said Alan Kumar, chief medical information officer at Community Hospital. Also as a precaution, members of the man’s family have been told to stay home and wear masks if they leave, Kumar said. The virus has an incubation period of two to 14 days and appears in most cases within five days. The man flew from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to the United States on April 24, with a stop in London. He landed in Chicago and took a bus to Indiana, health officials said. He went to the emergency room last Monday with a fever, cough and shortness of breath. Federal and state officials are still trying to contact about 100 people who may have been on the airplane or bus with the patient.

About three-quarters of the people on the plane had been contacted, said Dr Daniel Feikin, an epidemiologist with the CDC. Feikin said there are no known cases of the virus spreading through casual contact, but it was not surprising MERS had reached the United States. “We know that infectious diseases do not respect international boundaries. In this day and age of global travel and trade, infectious diseases can spread almost anywhere,” he said. Saudi Arabia has been at the center of a Middle East outbreak of MERS that began two years ago. The virus has spread among health care workers, most notably at four facilities in that county last spring. Officials said Monday the patient did not recall working directly with a MERS patient in Riyadh but said the hospital where he worked did have some MERS cases. The MERS virus has been found in camels, but officials don’t know how it is spreading to humans. It can spread from person to person, but officials believe that happens only after close contact. Not all those exposed to the virus become ill.

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