WHO Reports 136 Cases, 58 Deaths From MERS; Health Officials Prepare For Hajj Pilgrimage In Saudi Arabia

“The [WHO on Friday] announced six more Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases in Saudi Arabia, raising the agency’s global count to 136 cases with 58 deaths,” CIDRAP News reports (Roos, 10/4). “The latest cases, the WHO said in a statement, afflicted three men and three women, all from the Riyadh region,” according to the New York Times (Gladstone, 10/4). The patients’ ages ranged from 14 to 79 years, and “[t]hree patients had contact with previously confirmed MERS-CoV case-patients,” CIDRAP notes, adding, “The WHO said one of the patients has mild symptoms and the rest are hospitalized.” The news service adds, “In other developments, a Saudi [Ministry of Health] official advised religious pilgrims in Saudi Arabia for the hajj to wear masks in crowded places, according to an Arab News report” (10/4). IRIN reports on how Saudi health officials and “[h]ealth authorities around the Middle East, many of whom already send large health support teams to the hajj, will … be raising awareness of the virus among pilgrims, with a focus on reminding people what they should do if they return from Saudi Arabia and feel unwell” (10/7).