After a review by the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health’s (MOH) Command & Control Center last month in an effort to ensure a more complete and accurate understanding of the MERS-CoV outbreak in the Kingdom, the MOH added 113 new cases and 92 deaths to the total since the outbreak began in 2012.

Image/CIA
Image/CIA

The total number of cases recorded in the Kingdom between 2012 and today, is 688. Of that total, 282 of the cases were fatalities, 53 are currently receiving treatment, 353 have recovered, according to a press release today.

Dr Tariq Madani, Head of the Scientific Advisory Board within the Ministry’s Command and Control Center said: “The Ministry is committed to fully understanding MERS-CoV and putting in place the policies needed to protect public health and safety. To do this the Ministry has reviewed historical cases of MERS-CoV to give a more comprehensive understanding of the facts. While the review has resulted in higher total number of previously unreported cases, we still see a decline in the number of new cases reported over the past few weeks.”

An analysis on Avian Flu Diary notes, “While today’s new and improved case count may be closer to the truth, we won’t really have a decent handle on how pervasive this virus is in the community until some broad based, and comprehensive, seroprevalence studies are conducted. And that may be months, even years, away.” Author Michael Coston continues saying there are now sizable, and vexing gaps in the data.  “We literally know nothing about these 113 new cases; not gender, not age, or even location”, he adds.

Other MERS news coming out of Saudi Arabia shows Deputy Health Minister Ziad Memish was fired from his position. Reuters reports, “Acting Health Minister Adel Fakieh has issued a decision today to relieve Deputy Health Minister Doctor Ziad Memish from his position,” said a statement posted on the ministry’s website in Arabic on Monday. It did not elaborate.

Memish is the second senior Saudi health official to lose his job in six weeks after Health Minister Abdullah al-Rabeeah was sacked when the rate of new infections started to rise rapidly in mid-April. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.