New Coronavirus Case Confirmed, Wild Poliovirus Turns Up In Sewage
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Two updates from the World Health Organization (WHO) have surfaced this past week; one details a new case in an ongoing health crisis in the Middle East and another describes a separate virus recently discovered in Israel.
As the health threat continues to rise for infections from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), the WHO has issued its latest report describing a new laboratory-confirmed case in a girl from Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia´s Ministry of Health reported the case of a 14-year-old girl with MERS-CoV to the WHO on Wednesday June 5. The Ministry said the girl, who has underlying medical conditions, became ill on May 29. She is from the Eastern region, but not from Al-Ahsa where an outbreak began at a healthcare facility in April. The Ministry said the girl is in stable condition.
The confirmed case now ups the global total to 54 confirmed infections and 30 deaths. Cases have been reported in Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the Middle East. Also, cases have been reported in France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and the UK.
In an earlier WHO report on June 3, Israel reported an isolated case of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV 1) from raw sewage samples collected in Rahat on April 9, 2013. So far, the virus has only been detected in sewage and no cases of paralytic polio have been reported.
The WHO reported that an investigation is ongoing to determine the origin of the virus. Preliminary analysis indicates it is not related to the virus that is currently affecting the Horn of Africa. The virus was detected through routine environmental testing, and is the first time WPV 1 has been found in Israel since 2002; the country has been free of WPV transmission since 1988.
Israel health officials are now conducting a full investigation, actively searching for potential cases of paralytic polio as well as for any un-immunized persons. Authorities believe routine immunization levels are at about 94 percent. Additional immunizations may be necessary depending on the outcome of the investigation. Despite consistent negative tests in sewage samples in Gaza and the West Bank, officials in those regions are also stepping up probes into WPV 1.
The WHO currently assesses the risk of further international spread of WPV 1 from Israel as low to moderate.
The WHO´s International Travel and Health recommends that all travelers to and from polio affected regions be fully vaccinated against the virus. Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan are three countries that remain endemic for indigenous transmission of WPV. The Horn of Africa is also currently afflicted by an outbreak of WPV, with six cases confirmed in Kenya and Somalia.