WHO learns of new MERS-CoV case in UAE

The World Health Organization said on Friday that it was recently informed of a new laboratory-confirmed case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in United Arab Emirates.

The case occurred in a 33-year-old male healthcare worker in Dubai who came into contact with a previously confirmed MERS-CoV case reported to the WHO on December 20. The healthcare worker developed symptoms on December 27 and was hospitalized the next day with thrombocytopenia, acute renal failure and bilateral pneumonia. The case was confirmed as MERS-CoV on December 29.

The patient, who has an underlying history of chronic kidney disease and bronchial asthma, was in critical but stable condition as of Friday.

Since September 2012, the WHO was informed of 177 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV in total, including 74 deaths.

The WHO recommends that all individuals at high risk of severe disease from MERS-CoV avoid close contact with animals when visiting barn areas or farms where the virus is known to be potentially circulating. The agency also recommends that the general public use general hygiene measures such as regular hand washing before and after touching animals when visiting a farm or barn. Individuals should avoid contact with sick animals and follow food hygiene practices.

The WHO does not currently recommend any trade or travel restrictions or special screening at points of entry related to MERS-CoV.