Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus (MERS CoV): case reports from a tertiary care hospital in Saudi Arabia.Ann Saudi Med. 2014 Sep-Oct; 34(5):396-400.AS
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES
Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome caused by novel coronavirus (MERS CoV) has been a major public health challenge since it was first described in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. So far, there is no effective treatment for this serious illness, which features a high mortality rate. We report an initial experience of the use of ribavirin and interferon (IFN)-a2b in the management of MERS CoV at a tertiary care hospital.
DESIGN AND SETTINGS
A case series of 6 patients admitted with a confirmed diagnosis of MERS CoV were treated with ribavirin and IFN-a2b in addition to supportive management. The patients' demographics, clinical parameters, and outcomes were recorded. Fifty-four close contacts of these patients were screened for MERS CoV.
Six patients with MERS CoV infection were included in this study. Four cases featured symptomatic disease, including pneumonia and respiratory failure, while 2 were asymptomatic close contacts of the MERS CoV patients. The MERS CoV infection was confirmed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction detection of the consensus viral RNA targets upstream of the E gene (UPE) and open reading frame (ORF1b) on a sputum sample. The patients' demographics, comorbid conditions, time to diagnosis and initiation of treatment, and clinical outcomes were recorded.
Three out of 6 patients who had comorbid conditions died during the study period, while 3 had suc.cessful outcomes. The diagnosis and treatment was delayed by an average of 15 days in those patients who died. Only 2 close contacts out of the 54 screened (3.7%) were positive for MERS CoV.
Treatment with ribavirin and IFN-a2b may be effective in patients infected with MERS CoV. There appears to be a low infectivity rate among close contacts of MERS CoV patients.