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The Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health reported four additional Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases going back at least two months.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus /National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID

The four cases include a 50-year-old male in Hafer Albatin city, Hafer Albatin reported on October 31, 2021. The man had contact with camels and died from his illness.

In November, officials report a case in a 45-year-old male in Riyadh city, Riyadh on Nov. 8. This individual had no contact with camels and recovered from his illness.

Two additional cases were reported in December–A 79-year-old male in Riyadh city, Riyadh died which was reported on Dec. 12. Again, this individual had no contact with camels.

Lastly, on Dec. 26, an active case is reported in a 49-year-old in Turabah city, Taif with no contact with camels.

This makes 17 MERS-CoV cases in Saudi Arabia in 2021. Two cases were reported in the United Arab Emirates.

Since 2012, a total of 2583 laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), including 890 associated deaths were reported globally for a case-fatality ratio (CFR) of 34.4%. The majority of these cases were reported from Saudi Arabia, which had 2182 cases including 812 related deaths (CFR 37.2%).

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The World Health Organization (WHO) says MERS-CoV  is a virus transferred to humans from infected dromedary camels. It is a zoonotic virus, meaning it is transmitted between animals and people, and it is contractable through direct or indirect contact with infected animals. MERS-CoV has been identified in dromedaries in several countries in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. In total, 27 countries have reported cases since 2012.

Human-to-human transmission is possible, but only a few such transmissions have been found among family members living in the same household. In health care settings, however, human-to-human transmission appears to be more frequent.

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