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WHO: 75% of coronavirus victims are males

A view of King Fahd hospital in the eastern Saudi town of Hofuf), Al-Ahsa

By MD Rasooldeen / 11 June 2013 

The World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday that 75 percent of new coronavirus cases (MERS-Cov) in the Kingdom were males suffering from serious chronic diseases.

The WHO made this observation in a communique addressed to the Ministry of Health through its office in Riyadh.

Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Khalid Al-Mirghalani told Arab News that the WHO has come out with useful information about the virus, which was renamed the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-Cov).

Upon invitation from the Ministry of Health, a team of WHO officials visited hospitals in Al-Ahsa last week to exchange information on the outbreak of novel coronavirus in the Kingdom.

“One of the reasons why more cases have been identified in KSA may be because they have gone ahead to strengthen surveillance,”said Keiji Fukuda, assistant director-general of WHO’s health security and environment. The WHO communiqué recalled that the first documented case of the virus emerged in Jordan in early 2012. Globally, from September 2012 to date, the WHO has been informed of a total of 55 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 31 deaths. The WHO has received reports of laboratory-confirmed cases originating in Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and the United Kingdom also reported laboratory-confirmed cases.

They were either transferred or returned from the Middle East and subsequently became ill. In France, Italy, Tunisia and the United Kingdom,there has been limited local transmission among patients who had not been to the Middle East but had been in close contact with the laboratory-confirmed or probable cases. It stated that out of the 55 confirmed cases, 40 were found in the Kingdom, which included 25 deaths. Around 60 percent of confirmed cases had died because of the virus. The report explained that there are three ways that patients contracted the virus.

Firstly,sporadic cases were identified in the community. Secondly, the infection can occur in a cluster in a family from patient to person.

Thirdly, the infection had also occurred in health facilities in France, Jordan and Saudi Arabia from patient to person. It has been noticed that a person-to-person transmission had taken place only among family members or with health officials.

“Saudi Arabia has done an outstanding job in the investigation and control of the outbreak. Since the Ministry of Health has taken a number of measures, including infection control measures to reduce the spread of infection in hospitals, launch awareness campaigns to educate and alert the community, report cases to the WHO, conduct epidemiological tests to determine the source of infection, risk factors, and methods of transmission and to invite international experts to seek cooperation,” t said.

 

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