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Male nurse in Jeddah dies of coronavirus

Last updated: Sunday, April 06, 2014 10:53 PM

Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — A male nurse, who was in a coma after contracting the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), died Saturday night, hospital sources were quoted as saying by the Sabq news website.

Bandar Bin Salim Al-Kuthairy, 27, who worked for King Abdulaziz Hospital in south Jeddah, got infected with the virus just two days after getting married.

A colleague of Al-Kuthairy was quoted as saying that he 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.

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.

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

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

But Al-Kuthairy’s father Salim told Al-Eqtisadiah Arabic language daily that his son got the virus while nursing some patients in the hospital who had the disease.

Dr. Sami Badawood, director of Jeddah Health Affairs, said the male nurse was the first Saudi to fall victim to the virus in Jeddah.

He said the hospital’s staff, especially those who interact with patients regularly, were examined and were found to be free from the virus.

Most of the human infections of MERS have been in Saudi Arabia, with others scattered across Jordan, Qatar, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Some cases have also been reported in France, Germany, Italy and Britain, but all have had some links to travel in the Mideast.

King Fahd hospital in Jeddah was a scene of chaos last week after seven of its medical staff were feared to have contracted MERS.

An official source said three female nurses who were suspected to have contracted the virus were sent to Erfan and Bagedo Hospital, where they were quarantined in separate rooms until the results of the laboratory tests were known.

He said three other doctors and an Asian female nurse were also suspected to have fallen victim to the virus after they complained of high fever and breathing difficulties.

The official said vaccines against all epidemics were given to all the hospital’s staff.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health announced monetary allowance for medical and paramedical personnel who routinely come into contact with patients suffering from highly infectious diseases.

This “hazardous duty” pay supplement will be SR750 monthly and comes after the medical community demanded insurance cover in the wake of the spread of MERS.

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