Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – Corona Virus (MERS-CoV)

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Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – Corona Virus (MERS-CoV)

A patient who normally lives in the Middle East, but traveled to England on Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight# SV123, on August 16, 2018, has been diagnosed with MERS-CoV infection after his/her arrival in England per Dr. Jenny Harries, the Deputy Medical Director for Public Health England.  The person is believed to have contracted the illness while in the Middle East and it has not been released if *he was showing any symptoms while traveling.  He initially was diagnosed and treated at Leeds Teaching Hospital before being transferred to Royal Liverpool Hospital, since it specializes in respiratory infections.  The patient is considered stable and undergoing appropriate treatment.

Possible contacts (those that might be exposed from close and prolonged contact) are being followed by Public Health England (PHE), including those on the flight who sat in his row and either 3 rows ahead or 3 rows behind.  The risk of transmission to the general public is considered low, but contacts will be monitored for signs and symptoms of illness until the incubation period is complete.  PHE has contacted everyone on the flight considered to be at risk, as well as those in other close contact settings, including both hospitals.

Signs and symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath; some also experience GI symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.  Respiratory symptoms often lead to pneumonia and renal failure is a complication that can occur as well.

This is the 5th known MERS case in England; previous cases were in 2012 and 2013.  Two were imported cases from the Middle East and two were the result of transmissions from one of the imported cases.

Health Care Workers should always consider a diagnosis of MERS if a person has respiratory symptoms and has been in the Middle East or been in contract with someone sick who has traveled there.  Public Health Authorities for a particular area will assist in appropriate infection control procedures / PPE, testing, diagnosis, contact tracing, and appropriate management in the event a suspected case is identified.

* “he” is used to represent the patient, whose gender has not been and won’t be identified.

More information on this MERS-CoV case from PHE:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/mers-cov-case-in-england

General information on MERS-CoV from the CDC:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/index.html

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