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MERS strikes newlywed nurse

Last updated: Monday, March 31, 2014 12:41 AM

Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — A male nurse is currently in intensive care with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) only two days after getting married, Al-Watan reported Sunday.

The nurse, who works for King Abdulaziz Hospital in south Jeddah, was identified by Al-Eqtisadiah business daily as Bandar Bin Salim Al-Kuthairy, 27.

A friend and colleague of his said the man left for his village in Madinah province to tie the knot with a girl there, but came back two days later to the hospital suffering from breathing difficulties and a high fever.

"He was later diagnosed with coronavirus," he said.

The nurse contracted the disease before leaving his place of work as there were three similar cases in the emergency ward, said a relative of the victim.

The hospital sources said doctors and nurses at King Abdulaziz Hospital were planning to sue Jeddah Health Affairs and also complain to human rights organizations because of the alleged lack of health and safety there.

They said there were no sections to quarantine patients with contagious diseases.

Dr. Isha Mutwali, director of preventive medicine, denied the nurse had contracted the disease inside the hospital.

"There were not any suspected cases in the hospital either before the nurse had traveled or while he was on duty," she said.

She added that sufficient precautions had been taken to protect hospital staff against the disease.

Al-Kuthairy’s father Salim told Al-Eqtisadiah that his son got MERS-CoV while nursing some patients in the hospital who had the disease.

The father said the hospital did not take any precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

He said the hospital refused to inform him about the condition of his son and also refused to give him special medical reports about him.

The father promised to fight for his son’s rights by approaching human rights organizations and other authorities.

Dr. Sami Badawood, director of Jeddah Health Affairs, said this was the first coronavirus case in any of the city’s government hospitals.

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