Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – United Arab Emirates
On 15 June 2015, the National IHR Focal Point of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) notified WHO of 1 additional case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection.
Details of the case are as follows:
A 65-year-old, non-national male from the Eastern region developed symptoms on 31 May and was admitted to hospital on 6 June. The patient, who has comorbidities, tested positive for MERS-CoV on 14 June. He has no history of exposure to known risk factors in the 14 days prior to onset of symptoms. Currently, the patient is in critical condition in ICU. Contact tracing of household and healthcare contacts is ongoing for the case.
Globally, WHO has been notified of 1293 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including at least 458 related deaths.
Based on the current situation and available information, WHO encourages all Member States to continue their surveillance for acute respiratory infections and to carefully review any unusual patterns.
Infection prevention and control measures are critical to prevent the possible spread of MERS-CoV in health care facilities. It is not always possible to identify patients with MERS-CoV early because like other respiratory infections, the early symptoms of MERS-CoV are non-specific. Therefore, health-care workers should always apply standard precautions consistently with all patients, regardless of their diagnosis. Droplet precautions should be added to the standard precautions when providing care to patients with symptoms of acute respiratory infection; contact precautions and eye protection should be added when caring for probable or confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection; airborne precautions should be applied when performing aerosol generating procedures.
Until more is understood about MERS-CoV, people with diabetes, renal failure, chronic lung disease, and immunocompromised persons are considered to be at high risk of severe disease from MERS‐CoV infection. Therefore, these people should avoid close contact with animals, particularly camels, when visiting farms, markets, or barn areas where the virus is known to be potentially circulating. General hygiene measures, such as regular hand washing before and after touching animals and avoiding contact with sick animals, should be adhered to.
Food hygiene practices should be observed. People should avoid drinking raw camel milk or camel urine, or eating meat that has not been properly cooked.
WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event nor does it currently recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions.