27 cases of MERS infection have been reported in the past two weeks, compared to 8 in the previous two weeks. The increase in cases is in line with Ascel Bio’s forecast for MERS, which shows peaking disease activity between March and April. A majority of infections have occurred in Buraidah, with other infections reported in Riyadh and Jeddah. Healthcare workers have been affected. An increase in cases in KSA can signal a shift in translocation potential; persons traveling to and from KSA and countries with direct flights to and from KSA should be prepared.
MERS cases show irregular trends in peak behavior, however, translocation events tend to occur around times of high activity in the Middle East. Ascel Bio expected to see an increase in activity in February, and is forecasting a further increase in March and April.