Rumors, grief and questions: A virus ravages a Saudi family
Mar 13, 2013
Latest coronavirus patient had visited farm, Saudi official says
Investigators in Saudi Arabia learned that the latest person to die of a novel coronavirus (NCoV) infection had visited a farm before he got sick, according to a Saudi Arabian health official. Similar findings have been reported in at least 2 of the 14 other NCoV cases reported since the virus emerged last year. The latest case, involving a 39-year-old man in Saudi Arabia, was announced by the World Health Organization yesterday. Ziad A. Memish, MD, deputy minister for public health in Saudi Arabia, told CIDRAP News by e-mail, "What we know is that the patient has not traveled recently outside KSA [the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] and he has been to a farm outside Riyadh owned by his brother." Previous reports revealed that a Qatari man who was treated for NCoV infection in Germany last fall owned a farm where some goats had been sick before he fell ill himself. Also, a Saudi Arabian gym teacher whose NCoV illness was reported in November had visited a farm 3 days before he got sick. The source of the novel virus has not been identified, though it is related to coronaviruses found in bats. Memish commented that all patients hospitalized with pneumonia in Saudi Arabia are being screened for NCoV infection, "a strategy not implemented to my knowledge by any country in the world and that's why we continue to sporadically detect new cases. It will be good if other countries apply the same strategy to give the world an indication how wide spread this disease." Eight of the 15 confirmed cases have occurred in Saudi Arabia.