Mers rears its head again, man dies in Abu Dhabi

WHO reported that the expat developed symptoms on December 29 last year and was admitted to a hospital on January 29 in a critical condition.

By Olivia Olarte-ulherr - Senior Reporter, Abu Dhabi

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Published: Fri 13 Feb 2015, 2:00 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:26 PM

Abu Dhabi: A 38-year old man in Abu Dhabi died after contracting the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (Mers-CoV) infection.

According to the latest report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the expatriate developed symptoms on December 29 last year and was admitted to a hospital on January 29 in a critical condition. He died eight days later on February 6.

The WHO reported on Thursday that the man has no comorbidities and no history of exposure to other known risk factors in the 14 days prior to the onset of the symptoms.

Tracing of contact with camels, household and healthcare contacts is ongoing.

The last reported cases in Abu Dhabi were in July. The Ministry of Health said at that time that the two patients were stable and receiving necessary medical care. It also said that it was co-ordinating with the competent departments and other medical authorities in the country, and had taken all necessary measures as per international standards and recommendations from the WHO.

Mers-CoV is a flu-like illness that develops into severe acute respiratory illness causing renal failure. The source of the virus is currently unknown, although the infection is believed to be primarily zoonotic in nature — with bats and camels playing a major role — with limited human-to-human transmission.

The coronavirus infection was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and since then, 977 laboratory-confirmed Mers-CoV cases, including 359 deaths, have been reported to the WHO.

The WHO encourages the continuance of surveillance for acute respiratory infections, but does not advise special screening at points of entry or travel and trade restrictions at this time.

People with diabetes, renal failure, chronic lung disease, and immunity-compromised persons are considered to be at high risk of severe disease from Mers-CoV infection. Therefore, these people should avoid close contact with animals, particularly camels, when visiting farms, markets, or barn areas where the virus is known to be potentially circulating.

General hygiene measures, such as regular hand washing before and after touching animals and avoiding contact with sick animals, should be adhered to.

Food hygiene practices should be observed. People should avoid drinking raw camel milk or camel urine, or eating meat that has not been properly cooked.

The 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.

— olivia@khaleejtimes.com 


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