MERS contracted by 19 kidney failure patients in Saudi Arabia

At least 19 kidney failure patients suffered from MERS a few weeks ago

Published: Updated:

At least 19 kidney failure patients suffered from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) when coronavirus which causes MERS peaked a few weeks ago, Director of the Kidney Center at King Fahd Hospital in Jeddah Dr. Fuad Shu’airiyah told Okaz/Saudi Gazette.

They were all isolated and treated, he said. But some patients developed complications and succumbed to the virus, Shu’airiyah said without giving any fatality figures.

He said it is probable that these patients got the infection at the emergency room. No new cases have been registered during the past two weeks, Shu’airiyah said.

He said the center has been sterilized and kidney dialysis was rescheduled to suit the sterilization plan.

He said patients are checked before they are allowed to enter the hemodialysis wards. Shu’airiyah said there are about 576 kidney failure patients on hemodialysis machines and 31 patients on peritoneal dialysis. There are about 1260 pre-hemodialysis patients, who are following up their treatment at the center, aside from 1,960 patients who got kidney

Meanwhile, infectious disease expert Dr. Amesh Adalja of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in US said that the biggest risk that MERS will become a global epidemic, ironically, may lie with globe-trotting healthcare workers. “This is how MERS might spread around the world,” said Dr. Adalja. It can take five to 14 days for someone infected with MERS to show symptoms, more than enough time for a contagious person to fly to the other side of the world without being detected. Healthcare workers “are at extremely high risk of contracting MERS compared to the general public,” Adalja said.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on May 19, 2014.