Four new cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus were recently reported to the World Health Organization by Saudi Arabia and Oman, the Hong Kong Department of Health said on Friday.
According to the WHO, the three patients from eastern Saudi Arabia reported no contact history with animals before the onset of symptoms. The cases occurred in two men and one woman between the ages of 49 and 83. One patient is a healthcare worker and one patient was in contact with a previously confirmed patient. One of the three patients died as a result of the illness.
The WHO said the 68-year-old male patient from Oman had no recent travel history and investigations into his exposure history are ongoing. The case was the first confirmed case in Oman.
The new cases bring the total confirmed cases of MERS-CoV to 149, including 63 deaths.
The DH said it was closely monitoring the four cases and will continue its surveillance mechanism with airports, public and private hospitals and practicing doctors for any suspected cases of MERS-CoV.
"The Centre for Health Protection of the DH will seek more information on the cases from the WHO and the relevant health authorities," a DH spokesperson said. "The CHP will stay vigilant and continue to work closely with the WHO and overseas health authorities to monitor the latest developments of this disease."
The spokesperson said the government will be as transparent as possible in the dissemination of information on MERS-CoV. No human infection with the virus has been identified in Hong Kong.