MOH News
Dr. Assiri: All Recently Registered Cases of Coronavirus Don't Represent New Outbreak
27 August 2015
The Assistant Deputy Minister of Health for Preventive Health, Dr. Abdullah Assiri, explained that additional 14 confirmed cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have been registered and linked to the outbreak at King Fahad Hospital at the National Guard's King Abdulaziz Medical city, bringing the total number of cases associated with this outbreak, since its inception more than one month ago, to 71 confirmed cases in the Ministry of Health's (MOH) laboratories, of which 17 cases recovered, thanks to Allah.
 
He added that there are still 35 hospitalized cases, including 19 cases in ICU, stressing that, despite the registration of cases infected with the virus on a daily basis, not all of the cases registered in the past few days constitute a new outbreak within the hospital, but they are cases which acquired infection at least a week ago. However, due to the prolonged incubation period of the disease, many patients, or most of them indeed, do not show symptoms until after a long period of up to two weeks. In addition to that, the laboratory tests may take a longer time and initial test may be negative, requiring re-examination of samples more than a once.
 
Assiri said, "I would like to send a message to all citizens and residents in the Kingdom that the registered cases during the past few days don't constitute a new outbreak in the health facilities, but they are cases which had acquired the infection previously, and didn't show symptoms until recently."
 
This was announced by Dr. Assiri during the press conference held today afternoon at the Ministry's Headquarters, with the participation of Jean Watson, the expert at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Ahmad Al-Hersi, the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council at the MOH's Command and Control Center (CCC), and Dr. Hail Al-Abdaly, Director-General of Infection Control at the Health Facilities.
 
With respect to the response of the MOH to the virus, he confirmed that multi-phased response is conducted by the rapid response teams led by Infection Control General Department, and by the continuous support from King Fahad National Guard Hospital.  
 
Dr. Assiri added that the field epidemiology program sent a number of experts to report daily in the hospital and study the cases in-depth and use all available information to know causes of transmission of the disease and infection from a person to another, and they also submit daily reports to the CCC to be discussed during continuous meetings before taking the necessary measures upon them.
 
During the press conference, the Director of Infection Control in Health Facilities, Dr. Hail Al-Abdaly said that the MOH is currently considering preventing health professionals in King Abdulaziz Medical City at the National Guard from participating in the work of this year's Hajj, 1436, as well as those in contact with infected people, so that there won't be new transmission of infection.
 
Chairman of the Advisory Council at the CCC, Dr. Ahmad Al-Harsi, said that there is good news about a new vaccine against the MERS- CoV, pointing out that it is now being tested on monkeys in the USA, and its results will be followed up on carefully to ensure its efficacy for humans without causing any side effects. 
 
On his part, the US expert of the CDC, Dr. Watson, praised the procedures taken by the MOH in the field of Coronavirus control and application of infection control measures in health facilities, confirming continuation of cooperation between the MOH and CDC. He underlined the importance of taking additional precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus.
 
 
 



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