SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2018

Update on MERS in Saudi Arabia

Update on MERS in Saudi Arabia
Update on MERS in Saudi Arabia | Courtesy of
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP), a branch of the Department of Health, recently released an update about the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) situation based in Saudi Arabia.

There are currently 22 additional cases of MERS that are under the supervision of the CHP. This group of patients include 15 men and seven women between the ages of 23 and 85. The median age is 49. The patients first experienced MERS symptoms from Aug. 27 to Sept. 5. Nine of the patients currently have underlying illnesses and are in critical condition. The other 13 patients are considered to be stable.

"Travellers to the Middle East should avoid going to farms, barns or markets with camels, avoid contact with sick persons and animals, especially camels, birds or poultry, and avoid unnecessary visits to health care facilities,” the spokesperson said. “We strongly advise travel agents organizing tours to the Middle East to abstain from arranging camel rides and activities involving direct contact with camels, which are known risk factors for acquiring MERS Coronavirus.”

Health officials have encouraged the public to be aware of the health dangers of the regions where they may be traveling.

"As the Hajj pilgrimage will begin soon, pilgrims visiting Mecca, the KSA, should be vigilant against MERS,” a CHP spokesman said. “Those with pre-existing major medical conditions, such as diabetes, chronic lung disease, chronic renal disease and immunodeficiency, are more likely to develop severe infections if they are exposed to MERS Coronavirus. Pilgrims should hence consult health care providers before travel to review the risk and assess whether pilgrimage is advisable.”

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Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection

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