Saudi Arabia reports fatal MERS case
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) today reported a new MERS-CoV case, which involves a 36-year-old man who died from his infection.
The man was from Hafr Al-Batin in the country’s northeast. An investigation found that the man had been exposed to camels. He wasn’t a healthcare worker and isn’t thought to have contracted MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) from another person.
The case marks Saudi Arabia’s eighth of the year. The World Health Organization (WHO) said in an April update that, since 2012 when virus was first detected in humans, it has received reports of 2,574 confirmed cases, at least 886 of them fatal.
May 6 Saudi MOH update
WHO establishes Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence
In an effort to detect and respond to epidemic and potential pandemic threats more quickly, the WHO and Germany’s government yesterday announced the establishment of a new global hub for gathering intelligence, as well as sharing and analyzing data for risk assessments.
Called the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence, the center will be based in Berlin and will work with partners around the world from government, academia, and the private sector. In a statement, the WHO and Germany said the center will help public health officials and policy makers take rapid steps to prevent and respond to future disease threats.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, the WHO’s director-general, said a lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic is that the world needs more advanced data analysis to help guide public health decisions.
“This requires harnessing the potential of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, combining diverse data sources, and collaborating across multiple disciplines. Better data and better analytics will lead to better decisions,” he said.
May 5 WHO/German government joint news release
Mali and Germany report more H5N1 avian flu in poultry
Mali reported another highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu outbreak in poultry, and Germany reported four outbreaks involving the subtype, all in Lower Saxony state, according to the latest notifications from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
Mali reported its first H5N1 outbreaks in the middle of April, and its latest event is located in one of the same areas—Koulikoro region. The latest outbreak struck a layer farm and began on Apr 9, killing 64,040 of 80,050 susceptible birds.
Germany reported four H5N1 outbreaks with start dates ranging from Feb 23 through May 3. Three were farms housing either turkeys or layers, and one involved backyard birds. Taken together, the virus killed 517 of 22,171 birds.
Apr 30 OIE report on H5N1 in Mali
May 5 OIE report on H5N1 in Germany