Multifacility Outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in Taif, Saudi Arabia.Emerg Infect Dis. 2016 Jan; 22(1):32-40.EI
Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a novel respiratory pathogen first reported in 2012. During September 2014-January 2015, an outbreak of 38 cases of MERS was reported from 4 healthcare facilities in Taif, Saudi Arabia; 21 of the 38 case-patients died. Clinical and public health records showed that 13 patients were healthcare personnel (HCP). Fifteen patients, including 4 HCP, were associated with 1 dialysis unit. Three additional HCP in this dialysis unit had serologic evidence of MERS-CoV infection. Viral RNA was amplified from acute-phase serum specimens of 15 patients, and full spike gene-coding sequencing was obtained from 10 patients who formed a discrete cluster; sequences from specimens of 9 patients were closely related. Similar gene sequences among patients unlinked by time or location suggest unrecognized viral transmission. Circulation persisted in multiple healthcare settings over an extended period, underscoring the importance of strengthening MERS-CoV surveillance and infection-control practices.