ABU DHABI // Health measures are being stepped up after a patient in the capital tested positive for the potentially fatal Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronovirus.
The case was the first in the UAE since June last year, and the patient is currently receiving medical care to limit the spread of the virus, which has been linked to camels.
“Health Authority - Abu Dhabi is coordinating with the Ministry of Health and Prevention and other relevant governmental entities,” a Haad spokesman said.
“Haad has taken all necessary measures as per standards and recommendations from the World Health Organisation.
“To help prevent respiratory illnesses the [ministry] has advised the public to wash hands often with soap and water, If not available, use hand sanitiser, cover nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and then throw the tissue in the trash.”
Details of the latest patient infected have not been released.
Symptoms of the virus are fever and respiratory problems such as coughing and shortness of breath.
In June last year, a 37-year-old Bangladeshi labourer living in Abu Dhabi developed symptoms and was admitted to hospital in a critical condition.
Although rare in the UAE, six months earlier a 73-year-old man who had frequent contact with camels died after contracting the virus, and another 85-year-old woman also tested positive for the virus.
Last week, the Who reported that 10 people had caught Mers after an outbreak in the haemodialysis unit of a hospital in Saudi Arabia.
Of those cases, the first were first reported at the end of February at Wadi Al Dawasir, in Riyadh province. A 32-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man showed symptoms and were treated in hospital in the first few days of March. Both were later confirmed to have Mers.
Since the first reported cases in September 2012, 1,935 people have been confirmed as having Mers and there have been at least 690 related deaths, according to the Who.
The largest outbreak so far occurred in 2015 in South Korea, where 186 cases were recorded in just two months and they are believed to have originated from a man who travelled in the Arabian Gulf.
Mers generally kills about 36 per cent of sufferers.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had provided up-to-date information for travellers to the region.
“CDC is working with partners to better understand the risks of this virus, including the source, how it spreads and how infections might be prevented,” a spokesman said.
“CDC has provided information for travellers and is working with health departments, hospitals and other partners to prepare for additional cases.”
For more information on Mers, visit the CDC Mers website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers.