CHP monitors confirmed case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health announced on December 23 the confirmation of an additional case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in the Middle East.

The United Arab Emirates reported the case to the WHO. The patient was a 68-year-old male with pre-existing medical conditions. He fell ill on December 13, was admitted to the hospital on December 14, transferred to the intensive care unit on December 16 and the laboratory results confirmed a MERS infection on December 19; his condition is unknown.

This case brings the international total of MERS cases to 166, including 71 deaths. While no human cases of MERS have been confirmed in Hong Kong, the CHP is continuing surveillance of the disease.

"The Centre for Health Protection of the DH will seek more information on the case from the WHO and the relevant health authority," 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 CHP asks healthcare workers and hospitals to maintain strict prevention methods against MERS. They are expected to maintain strict control methods when treating a patient with a suspected case to prevent a potential outbreak.

"We would like to reassure the public that the Government will be as transparent as possible in the dissemination of information on cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome," the DH spokesman said. "Whenever there is a suspected case, particularly involving patients with travel history to the Middle East, the CHP will release information to the public as soon as possible."

The CHP recommends that persons traveling to the Middle East take precautions against contracting MERS. It also recommends that people mind what they eat and their hygiene, especially when in contact with sick people, poultry, animals, undercooked meats, raw vegetables and unsafe water.