MOH News
Dr. Asiri: The Coronavirus Infection Season Began Ahead of Time; the Ministry Was Ready by Preparing Facilities and Intensifying Awareness Campaigns
11 March 2015
The Assistant Deputy Minister of Health for Preventive Health and Supervisor of the Infection Control Platform at the Command and Control Center (CCC) Dr. Abdullah Asiri reiterated his call for all citizens and residents to be cautious when getting in close contact with camels, especially persons with chronic diseases such as kidney diseases and HIV diseases, explaining that such diseases increase risks of developing complications of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
He pointed out to a previously-announced statement that about 90% of the blood samples, drawn from camels, contain antibodies against Coronavirus, citing studies conducted on camels across the Kingdom as well as similar studies in the Gulf States and Egypt.
He said that such a big percent indicates that camels were affected with the virus at some stages of their lives and doesn't necessarily mean that all of them are currently contagious, since contagiousness depends on the actual presence of the virus and not antibodies in the nose and secretions of infected camels.
The percent of the contagious virus, as per studies conducted recently by the Ministries of Health and Agriculture, amounts to 8%, but the main problem here lies in the inability to differentiate between the camels carrying the virus and the unaffected camels, due to non-availability of clear symptoms on  the infected camels.
He pointed out that young camels may be protected, at their early lives, with the antibodies they gained from their mothers, but they gradually lose such antibodies and immunity, and therefore they become more susceptible to infection and proliferation of viruses.
Dr. Asiri added that this year's infection season began two months earlier, during March and April, highlighting that the Ministry of Health (MOH) has taken all preparations to combat the virus through intensifying awareness campaigns among the community members, in addition to preparation of health facilities to deal with the suspected cases, briefing health workers on ways of assorting patients at emergencies and clinics and using personal protection equipment.
He went on indicating that the commitment of health workers to infection control procedures is so important to prevent the spread of the disease in the health facilities. "Therefore", he said, "the MOH has carried out a training campaign including more than 40,000 health practitioners, and formed field monitoring teams in regions to visit governmental and private hospitals and ensure application of health requirements". He called on everyone to ease pressure on emergency units in hospitals, as a large percent of emergency cases visiting hospitals have symptoms that can be dealt with at homes or primary health care centers, explaining that crowdedness especially at the emergency units is a main cause of infection among patients, and from patients to health practitioners.

Last Update : 15 March 2015 08:58 AM
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