Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) disease in Algeria

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31 May 2014 -  The Ministry of Health, Population and Hospital Reform of Algeria notified the World Health Organization of two cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) on May 31, 2014. The two patients stayed in Saudi Arabia for the performance of Umrah. The date of onset of illness for both patients is 23 May 2013. The diagnosis and confirmation of the new coronavirus infection was established for both cases on May 30, 2014 by the National Reference Laboratory of the Pasteur Institute of Algeria. The first case, a 66 year old man presented with fever and dyspnoea on 23 May 2014 upon arrival from Mecca the same day. He was admitted to the Kolea Hospital EPH. The second case, a 59 year old man, also presented with Influenza like illness (ILI) and diarrhoea on May 23, 2014 in Saudi Arabia. He was hospitalized on May 29, 2014 and is being treated at the University Hospital (CHU) of Tlemcen hospital of Algeria.

This is the first laboratory confirmed human case of MERS-CoV in the WHO African region. The early detection and confirmation of these two cases is a result of intense preparedness activities implemented over the past months by the Ministry of Health, Population and Hospital Reform of Algeria in close collaboration with WHO and partners.

The following measures are being taken by national authorities: enhancement of surveillance particularly at points of entry; strengthening of infection prevention and control; case management; and sensitization of the population and health care workers on preventive and control measures that should be taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection. A meeting of the national epidemic management committee is planned for early next week to review the situation, carry-out a detailed risk assessment and provide additional recommendations on preventive and control measures that should be taken at all levels.

Based on the current information available for this event, WHO does not recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied to the Republic of Algeria.