Caution advised as man tests positive for MERS

In yet another case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a 54-year-old man was admitted to a hospital with symptoms of the disease. According to World Health Organization (WHO), the man developed the symptoms on August 9 and was admitted to the hospital on August 29. “The patient tested positive for MERS Coronavirus on the same day. Investigations into the source of infection are on,” WHO said in a statement. To date, 2,080 cases have been reported to the WHO, with at least 722 deaths, the statement said.
Of the total 864 cases in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia accounted for 710, while 84 were reported from the United Arab Emirates.
The remaining 28 were in Jordan, 19 in Qatar, nine in Oman, six in Iran, four in Kuwait, two in Lebanon, and one each in Yemen and Bahrain.
MERS Coronavirus causes severe human infections resulting in high mortality and has demonstrated the ability to transmit between humans.
So far, the observed human-to-human transmission has occurred mainly in healthcare settings.
The statement said the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is closely monitoring an additional case reported by Oman.
It urged the public to pay special attention to safety during travel, taking due consideration to the health risks at the places they visit. “We will maintain close communication with the WHO and relevant health authorities,” a CHP spokesman said.
It urged travellers to the Middle East to avoid going to farms, barns or markets with camels, avoid contact with sick persons and animals, especially camels, birds or poultry, and avoid unnecessary visits to healthcare facilities.
“We strongly advise travel agents organising tours to the Middle East to abstain from arranging camel rides and activities involving direct contact with camels, which are known risk factors for acquiring MERS Coronavirus,” the spokesman said.
Travellers to the affected areas should maintain vigilance, adopt appropriate health precautions and pay heed to personal, food and environmental hygiene, it added.
WHO has continued to monitor the epidemiological situation and conducts risk assessment based on the latest available information.

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