The World Health Organization (WHO) released their latest Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) global update this month, the first time in more than a year, and here is some of the latest:
Between 2012 and 30 June 2018, 2229 laboratory confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection were reported to WHO, 83% of whom were reported by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
- To date, 791 individuals have died (crude CFR 35.5%).
- Since 2012, 27 countries have reported cases of MERS-CoV infection. In the Middle East: Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen; in Africa: Algeria and Tunisia; in Europe: Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey and the United Kingdom; in Asia: China, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand; and in the Americas: the United States of America
- In the past year, 189 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV from four countries were reported to WHO (182 from Saudi Arabia, three from Oman, three from the United Arab Emirates, and one from Malaysia), of whom 60 (31.7%) have died.
- Six clusters have been reported in the past year, all in Saudi Arabia
- Thus far, no sustained human-to-human transmission has occurred anywhere in the world, however limited nonsustained human-to-human transmission in health care facilities remains a prominent feature of this virus.
- Populations in close contact with dromedaries (e.g. farmers, abattoir workers, shepherds, dromedary owners) and health care workers caring for MERS-CoV patients are believed to be at higher risk of infection.
- The largest outbreak outside of the Middle East occurred in the Republic of Korea resulting in 186 cases (including one case who travelled to China) and 39 deaths.
- Overall, the reproduction number (R0) of MERS-CoV is <1 with significant heterogeneity in specific contexts. Specifically, outbreaks in health care settings can have R>1, but they can be brought under control (R<1) with proper application of infection prevention and control measures and early isolation of subsequent cases.