The Saudi Ministry of Health announced that 25 confirmed cased of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), including eight deaths, were reported in the kingdom in January. Affected areas include Al Kharj, Al Qurayyat, Buraydah, Dhahran, Khamis Mushait, Mulayjah, Najran, Riyadh, Tabuk, and Taif.
Authorities in the affected areas have reportedly implemented public health measures to contain the spread of the disease.
From 2013 to January 2018, MERS-CoV infected 2160 people in Saudi Arabia and claimed the lives of 773 people.
Known disease vectors of MERS-CoV transmission include camels and, in rare cases, other humans. Symptoms of MERS-CoV include acute respiratory issues (e.g., shortness of breath), fever, cough, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. No vaccine is currently available.
All those present in Saudi Arabia are advised to take the necessary measures to protect themselves against contact with animals and individuals suspected of being infected. People exhibiting the above symptoms are advised to seek immediate medical attention.