Killer coronavirus outbreak fears as man, 28, gets struck down with MERS in Abu Dhabi – and doctors are baffled as to how he caught it
- Middle East Respiratory Syndrome is thought to prove fatal in up to 35% of cases
- Details on how the man from Al Ain city contracted the virus remain scarce
- No further cases have yet been detected the World Health Organization has said
One of the world’s deadliest diseases is feared to be spreading in the Middle East after sickening a man in his twenties.
The 28-year-old, of Abu Dhabi, was left fighting for his life in hospital after catching MERS — a deadlier cousin of Covid.
Officials in the UAE, also home to Dubai, are now scrambling to contain the virus to ensure it doesn’t spread between humans.
MERS, or Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome coronavirus, is thought to kill up to a third of everyone it infects.
The virus is usually spread through contact with camels.
The 28-year-old, of Abu Dhabi, was left fighting for his life in hospital after catching MERS — a deadlier cousin of Covid. In a report published this evening by the WHO, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) notified the UN agency of the case on July 10, it confirmed. Details on how the man contracted the virus however remain scarce
MERS is believed to kill over a third of those it strikes. It is also considered one of the 10 most urgent threats to humanity by the World Health Organization (WHO), as it has no cure
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But World Health Organization chiefs said the infected man, who wasn’t identified, had no contact with camels or goats or sheep — two other species that harbour the disease.
In a report published this evening by the WHO, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) notified the UN agency of the case on July 10, it confirmed.
Details on how the man contracted the virus however remain scarce.
Authorities tracked down more than 100 contacts of the man — who had no known illnesses.
None of his contacts, who were monitored for two weeks, tested positive for the virus.
Investigations into how the man caught MERS are ongoing.
The WHO warned however that more cases are inevitable.
But it is continuing to monitor ‘the situation’ it acknowledged and urged its member states to ‘carefully review any unusual patterns’.
In a report published this evening by the UN agency, it confirmed the patient was admitted to hospital on June 8.
A throat and nose PCR swab, collected on June 21, revealed the man was positive for MERS on June 23.
MERS, also known as camel flu, often leaves patients battling symptoms of a common cold – but it can lead to pneumonia and kidney failure, which can both prove deadly.
The virus, which is from the same family as the virus behind the Covid pandemic, can be spread by touching infected camels or other humans struck down by the bug, although it is poorly understood by virologists.
MVD has a mortality rate of up to 88 percent. There are currently no vaccines or treatments approved to treat the virus
Earlier this year in May, the WHO identified CCHF among its nine ‘priority’ diseases that pose the biggest risk to public health. They were deemed to be most risky due to a lack of treatments or their ability to cause a pandemic
Britain has only ever recorded five cases of MERS, most recently in a traveller from the Middle East in August 2018.
Its symptoms include a fever, cough, breathing difficulties, diarrhoea and vomiting.
Since July 2013, when the UAE reported the first case of MERS, 94 confirmed cases – including this new case – and 12 deaths have been reported.
Globally, the total number of confirmed MERS cases reported to WHO since 2012 stands at 2,605, including 936 associated deaths.
In a statement the UN agency said it ‘continues to monitor the epidemiological situation and conducts risk assessments based on the latest available information’.
It added: ‘WHO expects that additional cases of MERS infection will be reported from the Middle East and/or other countries where MERS is circulating in dromedaries.
‘WHO re-emphasizes the importance of strong surveillance by all member states for acute respiratory infections, including MERS, and to carefully review any unusual patterns.’
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