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Concept: Saudi Arabia


Background In September 2012, the World Health Organization reported the first cases of pneumonia caused by the novel Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). We describe a cluster of health care-acquired MERS-CoV infections. Methods Medical records were reviewed for clinical and demographic information and determination of potential contacts and exposures. Case patients and contacts were interviewed. The incubation period and serial interval (the time between the successive onset of symptoms in a chain of transmission) were estimated. Viral RNA was sequenced. Results Between April 1 and May 23, 2013, a total of 23 cases of MERS-CoV infection were reported in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia. Symptoms included fever in 20 patients (87%), cough in 20 (87%), shortness of breath in 11 (48%), and gastrointestinal symptoms in 8 (35%); 20 patients (87%) presented with abnormal chest radiographs. As of June 12, a total of 15 patients (65%) had died, 6 (26%) had recovered, and 2 (9%) remained hospitalized. The median incubation period was 5.2 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.9 to 14.7), and the serial interval was 7.6 days (95% CI, 2.5 to 23.1). A total of 21 of the 23 cases were acquired by person-to-person transmission in hemodialysis units, intensive care units, or in-patient units in three different health care facilities. Sequencing data from four isolates revealed a single monophyletic clade. Among 217 household contacts and more than 200 health care worker contacts whom we identified, MERS-CoV infection developed in 5 family members (3 with laboratory-confirmed cases) and in 2 health care workers (both with laboratory-confirmed cases). Conclusions Person-to-person transmission of MERS-CoV can occur in health care settings and may be associated with considerable morbidity. Surveillance and infection-control measures are critical to a global public health response.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Public health, Epidemiology, Disease, Patient, Saudi Arabia, World Health Organization


A novel coronavirus (MERS-CoV) causing severe, life-threatening respiratory disease has emerged in the Middle East at a time when two international mass gatherings in Saudi Arabia are imminent. While MERS-CoV has already spread to and within other countries, these mass gatherings could further amplify and/or accelerate its international dissemination, especially since the origins and geographic source of the virus remain poorly understood.

Concepts: Saudi Arabia, Arabian Peninsula, Riyadh, United Arab Emirates, Middle East, Qatar, Jordan, Arabic language


Behaviours such as smoking, poor diet, physical inactivity, and unhealthy alcohol consumption are leading risk factors for death. We assessed the Canadian burden attributable to these behaviours by developing, validating, and applying a multivariable predictive model for risk of all-cause death.

Concepts: Death, Yeast, Saudi Arabia, Life expectancy, Canada, Ontario, Government of Canada


A human coronavirus, called the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), was first identified in September 2012 in samples obtained from a Saudi Arabian businessman who died from acute respiratory failure. Since then, 49 cases of infections caused by MERS-CoV (previously called a novel coronavirus) with 26 deaths have been reported to date. In this report, we describe a family case cluster of MERS-CoV infection, including the clinical presentation, treatment outcomes, and household relationships of three young men who became ill with MERS-CoV infection after the hospitalization of an elderly male relative, who died of the disease. Twenty-four other family members living in the same household and 124 attending staff members at the hospitals did not become ill. MERS-CoV infection may cause a spectrum of clinical illness. Although an animal reservoir is suspected, none has been discovered. Meanwhile, global concern rests on the ability of MERS-CoV to cause major illness in close contacts of patients.

Concepts: Disease, Severe acute respiratory syndrome, Saudi Arabia, Arabian Peninsula, Riyadh, United Arab Emirates, Middle East, Arabic language


Accurate information about the prevalence and types of tobacco use is essential to deliver effective public health policy. We aimed to study the prevalence and modes of tobacco consumption in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), particularly focusing on the use of Midwakh (Arabic traditional pipe).

Concepts: Tobacco, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Middle East, Iran, Arab people


This study estimates the potential health gains achievable in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with improved controls on environmental pollution. The UAE is an emerging economy in which population health risks have shifted rapidly from infectious diseases to chronic conditions observed in developed nations. The UAE government commissioned this work as part of an environmental health strategic planning project intended to address this shift in the nature of the country’s disease burden.

Concepts: Medicine, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United Nations, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Arab people, Ras al-Khaimah


PURPOSE: Epilepsy is very common in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with a prevalence of 6.54 per 1000. The present study was conducted to investigate the level of public awareness, and the attitudes and knowledge regarding epilepsy in the Saudi population in Riyadh - capital city of Saudi Arabia. METHODS: A survey consisting of 19 questions pertaining to epilepsy awareness was distributed to Saudi citizens living in Riyadh older than 15 years of age in malls, supermarkets, health clubs, mosques, universities and schools. RESULTS: Of the 7078 respondents who completed the questionnaire, 6756 (95.5%) had heard about epilepsy, 3024 (42.7%) had witnessed what they believed to be a seizure and 5164 (73%) would allow their children to interact with an individual who had epilepsy. However, 5382 (76%) respondents would not want their children to marry an individual with epilepsy, 1004 (14.2%) believed that epilepsy was infectious and 574 (8.1%) believed that epilepsy was a type of mental illness. A total of 1509 (21.3%) respondents were not aware of a single potential cause of epilepsy, 3493 (50.6%) would not seek medical advice if one of their relatives had epilepsy, 2221 (31.4%) did not know how to deal with an individual experiencing an epileptic episode and 6554 (92.6%) did not know that surgery was a treatment option for individuals with epilepsy in Saudi Arabia. Of the 7078 respondents, 3237 (45.7%) would not abide by a physician’s advice not to operate a motor vehicle because of their illness, of whom 1631 (50.4%) cited problems with the public transportation system as a reason for disregarding the doctor’s advice. The effect of age and level of education were statistically significant on most of the study variables. CONCLUSION: The level of epilepsy awareness in the Saudi population needs improvement.

Concepts: Saudi Arabia, Arabian Peninsula, Riyadh, Mecca, Jeddah, Ha'il, Dammam, Medina



Rapid-onset obesity, hypothalamic dysfunction, hypoventilation, and autonomic dysregulation (ROHHAD) is a rare disease, but could be fatal if not diagnosed early. It mimics many other diseases and it may take few years after the onset of rapid obesity to have the other clinical features. Therefore, any patient with rapid-onset obesity after the age of 2 years should have high index of suspicion and long term follow up. We report a case of ROHHAD in Saudi Arabia and we highlight the clinical features and the importance of early diagnosis and management.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Death, Medical terms, Saudi Arabia, Arabian Peninsula, Riyadh, ROHHAD


In 2015, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) viruses of the A/ASIA/G-VII lineage emerged from the Indian sub-continent to cause outbreaks in the Middle and Near East. A factor which has been proposed to have contributed to the rapid spread of this lineage is the poor in vitro vaccine-match of field isolates to vaccine strains that are commonly used in the region. This study used data from outbreaks on four large-scale dairy farms using routine vaccination in Saudi Arabia, to evaluate the impact of vaccination and learn how to manage outbreaks more effectively in this setting. This evaluation also included an assessment of vaccine-induced neutralisation titres to the vaccine and field strains on a related farm with no history of FMD that employed an identical vaccination schedule. The incidence risk among exposed groups ranged from 2.6 to 20.1% and was significantly higher among youngstock (18.7%) compared to adults (7.4%). Evidence was found that local isolation of individual sick animals was more effective than whole group isolation and that subclinical infection and undetected circulation may occur on large-scale farms in Saudi Arabia, although both of these points require further evaluation. On the unaffected farm, the mean reciprocal titres for the vaccine and field strains were all above the cut-off supposed to correlate with clinical protection based on evidence from challenge studies. An estimate of vaccination effectiveness was not possible on the affected farms, but the incidence of FMD provides a more realistic estimation of the expected vaccine performance than in vivo studies or r1 value as it is based on field conditions and natural exposure. This study shows that analysis of field data from FMD outbreaks are a useful addition to more conventional challenge and in vitro based evaluations of vaccines and suggests further work is necessary to validate correlates of protection in field conditions.

Concepts: Vaccine, Vaccination, In vivo, Vaccination schedule, Saudi Arabia, Middle East, Aphthovirus, Foot-and-mouth disease