No, Kerala Nurse in Saudi Arabia Doesn’t Have Wuhan Coronavirus

Saudi Arabia has not officially confirmed any cases of coronavirus thus far.

Health News
2 min read
100 nurses were tested but only one was confirmed to be positive for MeRs.

There is finally some clarity on whether or not a nurse from Kerala, working in Saudi Arabia, has the Wuhan strain of coronavirus.

Short answer. She doesn't.

What the nurse has tested positive for is another strain of the coronavirus MERS-CoV and not 2019-NCoV (Wuhan). The clarity came from the Indian Consulate in Jeddah.

Confusion arose when local media in Kerala started reporting that the nurse from Kottayam was suffering from coronavirus and a 100 other nurses were also tested. This news was further raised by none other than the Chief Minister of Kerala and Minister of State for the Ministry of External Affairs.

The MOS, V Muraleedharan tweeted that around 100 Indian nurses have been tested and only one nurse was found to be infected by Coronavirus.

The nurse hails from Ettumanoor in Kottayam.

Earlier, Kerala's Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to Ministry of External Affairs seeking intervention.

According to reports, the nurse was working at the Al Hayat National Hospital in Abha. She reportedly contracted the potentially deadly virus while caring for a Filipino colleague.

Doubts about the story arose since Saudi Arabia had not officially reported any coronavirus cases in the country. The kingdom has only screened for passengers coming in from China.

What is MeRs and How is it Different from the Wuhan Strain?

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus or (MERS-CoV) was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. The 2019 Wuhan strain is a new strain or never before encountered strain of the coronavirus family.

MERS spreads from camels to humans. The source of the Wuhan strain is not known yet though some studies point towards snakes, Chinese cobras, that were sold at the fish market, the epicentre of the outbreak.

Interestingly, another virus that was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation in 2003 also belongs to the same family. Severe respiratory Acute Syndrome or SARS affected 26 countries and resulted in more than 8000 cases.

The global count for the number of cases now stands at 830, with the outbreak reported from 8 different countries. 25 people have died from the virus. These include Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and the United States.

Read more about MERS by clicking on the link below:

(With inputs by The News Minute)

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