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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

WHO: Two new fatal cases of MERS in Saudi Arabia had no contact with a known MERS cases

Two new fatal infections of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection in Saudi Arabia had no contact with known cases, raising the possibility of transmission from mild or asymptomatic cases or from an animal reservoir of the emerging virus.

The infections occurred in two men, aged 55 and 78, from the Riyadh region, the World Health Organization reported .

The men became ill at the end of September 2013 and died in the beginning of October 2013. “Both the patients were reported to have had no contact to a known laboratory-confirmed case with MERS-CoV," the WHO stated.

Globally, since September 2012 there have been 138 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS infection and 60 deaths, the WHO reported.

No cases have been identified in the United States, but 84 people in 29 states have been tested for MERS after presenting with severe respiratory infection and reporting travel to the Middle East within the prior two weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

“So far they have all been negative,” David Swerdlow, MD, leader of the CDC MERS response, said recently in San Francisco at the IDWeek 2013 meeting.