Mers claims first victim in the UAE, confirms WHO

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Mers claims first victim in the UAE, confirms WHO Staff Reporter / 31 August 2013 The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed the recent death of an 82-year-old Emirati man suffering from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (Mers-CoV). The news of the latest UAE death follows the confirmation on Wednesday of a further eight Mers cases in Saudi Arabia, of which one person died on Friday. It is the first locally confirmed death and the patient did not have any travel history, said the WHO. The man was brought to a hospital in Abu Dhabi in July, which led to the isolation of at least four health workers who attended the patient, after fears they had contracted the virus. Two had mild symptoms, while a further two were asymptomatic. No reports have been issued on their current health condition. To date, the UAE has reported six cases and two deaths including the recent one. In March, a 73-year-old Abu Dhabi man died in a German hospital from the Sars-like virus. In Saudi Arabia, which is at the centre of the outbreak, the death toll has already touched 43. Of the eight new reported cases, three women and two men are still alive. All but one of the eight have or had underlying medical conditions. Meanwhile, on Thursday the WHO announced two other cases of Mers were confirmed in Qatar. Both patients are men and had underlying medical conditions. Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a total of 104 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Mers-CoV including 49 deaths. Based on the current situation and available information, the WHO has advised health care providers to maintain vigilance. However, no travel ban has been recommended by the world health body as yet. Last month Khaleej Times reported that unified local and national guidelines on how to deal with the suspected cases were being readied by the country’s health bodies. In Abu Dhabi, all healthcare providers have been briefed on the necessary notification and reporting mechanisms of any suspected coronavirus cases. That includes clinical assessment, isolation and collection of specimens for laboratory tests. The identified symptoms of Mers include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath and muscle pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhoea and vomiting. These symptoms are aggravated if the patient has any other underlying medical condition. Recent medical research has shown Mers links to both camels and bats, though investigations are ongoing. The WHO has recommended people to avoid contact with sick animals. Taylor Scott International

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