Committee formed to combat Alkhurma Virus in Saudi

RIYADH: Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah formed a committee Sunday to combat Alkhurma virus which is transmitted from animals to human beings.

The committee which will be headed by Dr. Ziad Al-Memish, deputy minister of health for preventive medicine, will comprise key officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, King Saud University, Riyadh Armed Forces Hospital, King Faisal Specialist Hospital, National Guard Health Affairs, National Laboratory, and Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs.

Alkhurma virus, infects particularly people who deal with cattle or meat. Early last month, four cases of the virus were found positive in Jeddah including a butcher.

Alkhurma virus which is attributed to Al-Khurma, a town near Taif where the virus was first detected in goats in 1994.

Major symptoms of the disease include fever accompanied by body pains and headaches for three to eight days, rashes or nose bleeds and blood in the urine or stool. The virus may affect the liver and lead to symptoms of jaundice in some cases. It is also known to attack the nervous system, resulting in comas, spasms or stiffness in the neck.

On Sunday, officials from Atlanta-based Center For Disease Control, together with Health Ministry and Agricultural Ministry officials visited the Central Laboratory in Jeddah and inspected the manner in which the samples from the animals are tested for Alkhurma virus. They also visited neighboring farms and took samples from camels, cows and goats