UAE reports new Mers virus case
Dubai, January 5, 2014
The UAE has reported a new case of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus, this time a 33 year-old male healthcare worker in Dubai, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
MERS had first emerged in the Middle East in September 2012 and is from the same family as the SARS virus, can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia.
Cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Tunisia as well as in several countries in Europe, and scientists are increasingly focused on a link between the human infections and camels as a possible "animal reservoir" of the virus.
The victim was in contact with the confirmed MERS-CoV case reported to WHO on December 20. He developed symptoms on December 27, and was hospitalized on December 28 with bilateral pneumonia, acute renal failure and thrombocytopenia.
The patient has underlying history of bronchial asthma and chronic kidney disease. The case was laboratory confirmed for MERS-CoV on December 29. The patient is in critical but stable condition, stated WHO in its disease outbreak update.
Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a total of 177 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 74 deaths.
In its directive, the global health body has called upon all member states to continue their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to carefully review any unusual patterns and also report new cases.
"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," the WHO said in its directive.
The global health body has also urged people at high risk of severe disease to avoid close contact with animals when visiting farms or barn areas where the virus is known to be potentially circulating.-TradeArabia News Service