By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Global health officials have reported 61 Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases since the beginning of the year.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus
Image/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

The cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia (57), United Arab Emirates (2) and Qatar (1). Riyadh accounted for 25 of Saudi Arabia’s cases.

20 deaths have been reported in Saudi Arabia.

Since April 2012 and as of 2 July 2020, 2,577 cases of MERS-CoV, including 935 deaths, have been reported by health authorities worldwide.

Typical MERS symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Pneumonia is common, but not always present. Gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, have also been reported. Some laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection are reported as asymptomatic, meaning that they do not have any clinical symptoms, yet they are positive for MERS-CoV infection following a laboratory test. Most of these asymptomatic cases have been detected following aggressive contact tracing of a laboratory-confirmed case.

Approximately 35% of reported patients with MERS-CoV infection have died.

Although most of human cases of MERS-CoV infections have been attributed to human-to-human infections in health care settings, current scientific evidence suggests that dromedary camels are a major reservoir host for MERS-CoV and an animal source of MERS infection in humans. However, the exact role of dromedaries in transmission of the virus and the exact route(s) of transmission are unknown.