New measures to save lives from deadly MERS virus

4186The Ministry of Health has announced that it is beefing up measures to counter the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) as the deadly virus claimed the lives of two more people on Sunday.

The ministry said the actions include disinfecting the dialysis unit at King Abdulaziz Hospital in Taif, which has been responsible for six of the 12 infections in the city over the past two weeks.

It repeated an earlier warning that people should avoid camels showing MERS symptoms, which have been responsible for the six other infections in Taif.

“These cases act is a reminder to the general public of the dangers of having unprotected contact with camels, and for health care workers to follow proper infection-control procedures,” the ministry said in a statement.

The two people who died on Sunday were a 53-year-old Saudi man in Riyadh and a 70-year-old Saudi man in Taif. A 44-year-old expatriate man was infected with MERS in Riyadh, and is undergoing treatment, the ministry announced on Sunday.

All the men had preexisting illnesses, and were non-medical personnel. The two deceased did not have contact with animals or people infected with MERS.

However, the infected expatriate possibly had contact with a person with MERS, according to the ministry’s website.

There have now been 771 cases of MERS in the Kingdom since June 2012, with 331 deaths, 433 complete recoveries, and 13 people under treatment.

Among the preventive measures taken in Taif include the disinfection of the dialysis unit at King Abdulaziz Hospital.

To reduce overcrowding, the ministry is moving 20 additional dialysis machines to King Faisal Hospital, allowing it to absorb one-third of all dialysis patients from King Abdulaziz Hospital.

The ministry is adding an additional work shift to reduce the number of patients treated at each session, aimed at cutting down on infections.

The ministry moved the mobile molecular laboratory to King Faisal Hospital to support Taif Health Affairs’ need for additional testing.

It is providing hands-on “refresher” training to health care workers on proper infection prevention and control procedures.

It has also improved daily monitoring procedures for all dialysis patients treated at King Abdulaziz Hospital to ensure their safety and prevent further transmission of MERS.

Strict measures have been implemented to reduce visits and movement of personnel and visitors between units and dedicated waiting areas.

MERS-infected patients would be transferred to King Faisal Hospital, the designated center for cases in Taif, where rooms have been modified to ensure proper isolation of suspected and confirmed cases.

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