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Mers-CoV particles as seen under a microscope

Mers-CoV outbreak ‘did not originate in Bahrain’

MANAMA, May 22, 2015

An outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (Mers-CoV) in South Korea did not originate in Bahrain, according to health officials.

The Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication reported yesterday (May 21) that a Health Ministry investigation had been launched after Bahrain was identified as the potential source of a Mers-CoV infection in Seoul.

A 68-year-old man engaged in "farming related business" contracted the virus following a two-week visit to Bahrain and the wider region, the South Korean Health and Welfare Ministry announced on Wednesday.

His 63-year-old wife and another man, aged 76, have subsequently become infected.

Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention chief Yang Byung-Guk said a further 64 patients, medical workers and family members have been isolated to prevent a wider outbreak.

However, after receiving the 68-year-old man's itinerary from his counterparts in South Korea, Bahrain's Public Health Directorate public health consultant Dr Adel Al Sayyad told the GDN that he was confident the virus had not originated here.


"The South Korean health officials told us that the first patient, who was diagnosed with Mers-CoV, had also travelled to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE during the time he was in the region," he said.

"This has made it clear that he contracted the infection from one of these other countries."

Dr Al Sayyad said there was "nothing to worry about" as the man had only started to show symptoms on his return to South Korea. "If the patient had showed symptoms while in Bahrain, then it could have spread to those in close contact and we would have had to take samples from everyone who was in contact with this man," he said.

"The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed that the Korean citizen diagnosed with coronavirus was not contagious during his stay in Bahrain.

"However, we are still waiting for more information from South Korean officials about the details of where the man was working so that we can conduct our own investigation."

Mers-CoV has no cure or vaccine and more than a third of cases result in death. According to the latest WHO statistics, updated on Monday, 1,118 laboratory-confirmed cases of Mers-CoV have occurred worldwide since it was first identified in 2012. - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Bahrain | Korea | Outbreak | MERS |

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