The Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health reported two new Middle East Respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases in individuals from Riyadh and Najran, according to an update yesterday.

The details on the two cases are as follows:


The first is a 53-year-old Saudi male healthcare worker who is hospitalized in Najran. He has a preexisting disease.

The second case involves a 28-year-old Saudi woman in Riyadh who is hospitalized in an intensive care unit.

This brings the total MERS-CoV cases in Saudi Arabia to 714, including 292 deaths since June 2012.

This comes just days after the Health Ministry announced they suspected that the MERS virus may have arrived in camels from the Horn of Africa, particularly Somalia, according to an Arab News report this weekend.

Tariq Madani, who heads the scientific advisory board of the Health Ministry’s command and control center (CCC) said, “We do have suspicions that the disease may have been imported through camel trade from the Horn of Africa, but we haven’t proved it yet.”

Madani said the ministry “hasn’t yet released an official ban for the importation of camels,” although colleagues there had told him such a move is “under consideration.” He continues, “We have always imported camels from the African Horn…. but we will stop that until we get more information on whether they are infected or not.”
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