CHA News Article

CDPH Warns Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Is on the Rise

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued an All Facility Letter (AFL) about a sharp increase in reported Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases. The World Health Organization has logged 636 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV as of May 29. Nearly 20 percent of reported cases involve health care workers who were likely exposed while working in hospitals in affected countries; 10 of the health care workers have died. CDPH encourages facilities to review their preparedness plans and patient screening processes and offers information on infection control and laboratory biosafety, as well as on determining which patients should be evaluated.

In May, the first two cases of MERS-CoV were identified in the U.S. Both cases involved health care workers who had been working in Saudi Arabia prior to their travel to the U.S. Infected patients’ symptoms included fever, cough, diarrhea, and shortness of breath. Most of the affected patients have become severely ill, and 30 percent have died. For additional information, see the attached AFL.