WHO monitors three cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus

The World Health Organization said on Wednesday that it was informed of three laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, including one in the United Arab Emirates and two in Saudi Arabia.


The patient in the United Arab Emirates is a 68-year-old man who became sick on March 1 and was admitted to the hospital on March 3. He is in stable condition. Investigation found that he has underlying medical conditions, no travel history and was in daily contact with animals.


The first patient in Saudi Arabia is 51-year-old man with underlying medical conditions. He became sick on Feb. 28 and was admitted to the hospital on March 2. Investigation showed he was exposed to animals.


The second case in Saudi Arabia was a 55-year-old man who also had underlying medical conditions. He became sick on Feb. 17 and was admitted to the hospital on Feb 25. He died on March 3.


WHO said there have been 189 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV across the world, including 82 deaths.


Diagnosing the infection early is not always possible due to mild or unusual symptoms. WHO recommended special control measures to prevent the spread of MERS-CoV in health care facilities, including droplet, contact and airborne precautions. Repeat tests are recommended even if the swab test results in a negative finding.


WHO said travelers returning from the Middle East who develop secure acute respiraty infections should be tested for MERS-CoV as well. People with high risk of severe disease should avoid contact with animals when visiting farms and barns where the virus is possibly circulating. The general public should avoid touching animals and practice general hygiene.