Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2015 15:02:44 +0200 (METDST)
By Omar Hasan

Kuwait City, June 26, 2015 (AFP) - A suicide bomber blew himself up during Friday prayers at a Shiite mosque in the Kuwaiti capital, killing at least 13 people, and in an unprecedented attack claimed by the Islamic State group.   "The initial count for the casualties is that at least 13 dead, and 25 have been taken to hospital," a medical source told AFP.   IS claimed what was the first-ever bombing of a Shiite mosque in Kuwait and the first terror attack in the Gulf state since January 2006.

The IS-affiliated group in Saudi Arabia, calling itself Najd Province, said militant Abu Suleiman al-Muwahhid carried out the attack on the mosque, which it claimed was spreading Shiite teachings among Sunni Muslims.    IS, a radical Sunni Muslim group, considers Shiites to be heretics.   Najd Province claimed similar bombings at Shiite mosques in Saudi Arabia in recent weeks.

The blast hit Al-Imam al-Sadeq mosque in Kuwait City, the interior ministry said in a brief statement without providing details.   The official KUNA news agency confirmed that there were "dead and wounded," but also did not provide details.    A witness told AFP "dozens were killed and wounded," and pictures circulating on social media showed several bloodied bodies in the mosque amid debris.   A security official said "it is a suicide bombing."

Witnesses gave a similar account, saying a suicide bomber entered the mosque during the weekly noon prayers.   An AFP photographer who arrived at the site after the bombing said the area was cordoned off by police.    Kuwait's emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, immediately visited the site, and footage on state-run Kuwait Television showed him visibly moved by the scenes of carnage.

The television showed footage of massive destruction caused by the blast, and people posted online horrific pictures of the dead and wounded.   The Kuwaiti cabinet went into an emergency meeting to discuss the incident, as the interior ministry raised the level of alert and mobilised all security forces.   A number of hospitals in the oil-rich emirate declared states of emergency to deal with the wounded, while the central blood bank appealed for blood donations.

- 'Low criminal attack' -
Kuwaiti Shiites make up around one-third of the country's native population of 1.3 million people.   The interior ministry said it launched a full investigation into the incident.   Three weeks ago, the ministry said it has raised the level of security around mosques following the bombings in neighbouring Saudi Arabia.   The bombing was strongly condemned by political groups, organisations and lawmakers.   The mainstream Sunni group, the Islamic Constitutional Movement condemned what it called "the low criminal attack targeting the (Shiite) mosque."

Kuwait's leading Sunni cleric, Sheikh Ajeel al-Nashmi, said on Twitter that the bombing is a "criminal act aimed at sowing seeds of discord, and undoubtedly Shiites and Sunnis will foil the terrorists' plot."   Independent MP Sultan al-Shemmari called on the government to "hit with an iron fist" against the "terrorists."   In the past few weeks, Kuwaiti courts have tried a number of people on charges of being IS members and sentenced at least one of them to several years in jail.
Date: 20 Mar 2014
Source: WHO Global Alert and Response [edited]
<http://who.int/csr/don/2014_03_20_mers/en/>

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) - update - 20 Mar 2014
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On [18 Mar 2014], WHO was notified of an additional 2 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). One case was notified by the National IHR Focal Point of Kuwait and the other by the National IHR Focal Point of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Details of the case notified from Kuwait are as follows:
A 60 year-old Syrian national who was admitted to a hospital in Kuwait on [13 Feb 2014] and died on [6 Mar 2014]. He had underlying health conditions. The patient was confirmed with MERS-CoV on [9 Mar 2014]. All close contacts of the patients are being followed up.

Details of the case notified from the UAE are as follows:
A 68 year-old man from Abu Dhabi with underlying health conditions. He became ill on [7 Mar 2014], was admitted to a hospital on [11 Mar 2014] with injury to his finger. He has mild symptoms. The patient was laboratory-confirmed with MERS-CoV on [17 Mar 2014]. The patient returned from Saudi Arabia 5 days prior to his admission in the hospital. He frequently visits Saudi Arabia where he owns a camel farm. Public health authorities are carrying out contact tracing and epidemiological investigations.

Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a total of 198 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 84 deaths.
Date: Mon 18 Nov 2013
Source: WHO Global Alert and Response (GAR), Disease Outbreak News [edited]
<http://www.who.int/csr/don/2013_11_18/en/index.html>

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) - update, 18 Nov 2013
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WHO has been informed of an additional 2 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) from Kuwait.

The 1st patient is a 47 year old man who became ill on [30 Oct 2013] and was hospitalised on [7 Nov 2013]. He is in a critical condition. The 2nd patient is a 52 year old man with underlying medical conditions. He became ill on [7 Nov 2013] and was hospitalised on [10 Nov 2013]. He is in a critical condition.

Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a total of 157 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 66 deaths.

Based on the current situation and available information, WHO encourages all member states to continue their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to carefully review any unusual patterns.

Health care providers are advised to maintain vigilance. Recent travellers returning from the Middle East who develop SARI should be tested for MERS-CoV as advised in the current surveillance recommendations.

Patients diagnosed and reported to date have had respiratory disease as their primary illness. Diarrhoea is commonly reported among the patients and severe complications include renal failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) with shock. It is possible that severely immunocompromised patients can present with atypical signs and symptoms.

Health care facilities are reminded of the importance of systematic implementation of infection prevention and control (IPC). Health care facilities that provide care for patients suspected or confirmed with MERS-CoV infection should take appropriate measures to decrease the risk of transmission of the virus to other patients, health care workers, and visitors.

All member states are reminded to promptly assess and notify WHO of any new case of infection with MERS-CoV, along with information about potential exposures that may have resulted in infection and a description of the clinical course. Investigation into the source of exposure should promptly be initiated to identify the mode of exposure, so that further transmission of the virus can be prevented.

WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event nor does it currently recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions.

WHO has convened an emergency committee under the International Health Regulations (IHR) to advise the director-general on the status of the current situation. The emergency committee, which comprises international experts from all WHO Regions, unanimously advised that, with the information now available, and using a risk-assessment approach, the conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) have not at present been met.
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 2013 08:17:31 +0100 (MET)

KUWAIT CITY, Nov 14, 2013 (AFP) - Kuwait has reported its second case of the deadly MERS coronavirus for a man who just returned from abroad, the health ministry said.   In a statement cited by the official KUNA agency late Wednesday, the ministry said the new case was for a 52-year-old Kuwaiti national who was in a stable condition.   Media reports said the patient had just returned from a visit to neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

The announcement came hours after Kuwait reported its first case of the MERS virus for a 47-year-old Kuwaiti man who was in critical condition.   Kuwait is now the fifth state in the Gulf to report the disease.    The ministry said the latest case was not related to the first patient and both have been isolated at the country's Infectious Diseases Hospital. Relatives of the two patients had also been examined.   The World Health Organisation said on its website on Monday that it has been informed of 153 laboratory-confirmed MERS cases worldwide so far, including the 64 deaths, a majority of them in Saudi Arabia with two fatalities in Oman and Qatar.

Experts are struggling to understand the disease, for which there is no vaccine.   It is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus that erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died.   Like SARS, MERS appears to cause a lung infection, with patients suffering from a temperature, coughing and breathing difficulties.   But it differs in that it also causes rapid kidney failure, and the extremely high death rate has caused serious concern.   In August, researchers pointed to Arabian camels as possible hosts of the virus.   And the Saudi government said on Monday that a camel in the kingdom has tested positive for MERS, the first case of an animal infected with the coronavirus.
Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2013 14:18:21 +0100 (MET)

KUWAIT CITY, Nov 13, 2013 (AFP) - Kuwait has discovered its first case of the MERS coronavirus for a citizen who is in "critical condition," the health ministry said on Wednesday.   "The first case of coronavirus has been discovered in the country for a citizen who was moved to the Infectious Diseases Hospital in critical condition," the ministry said, quoted by the official KUNA news agency.

The patient was a 47-year-old man who suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure, said the statement. It did not say how he might have been infected.   His infection makes Kuwait the fifth state in the Gulf to report cases of MERS, which has already killed 64 people worldwide, the majority of them in Saudi Arabia.   Two fatalities have been reported in Qatar and one in Oman.

The World Health Organisation said on its website on Monday that it has been informed of 153 laboratory-confirmed MERS cases worldwide so far, including the 64 deaths.   Experts are struggling to understand the disease, for which there is no vaccine.   It is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus that erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died.

Like SARS, MERS appears to cause a lung infection, with patients suffering from a temperature, coughing and breathing difficulties.   But it differs in that it also causes rapid kidney failure, and the extremely high death rate has caused serious concern.   In August, researchers pointed to Arabian camels as possible hosts of the virus.   And the Saudi government said on Monday that a camel in the kingdom has tested positive for MERS, the first case of an animal infected with the coronavirus.
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