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Update on latest MERS situation in KSA

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (July 24) closely monitoring six additional cases reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

     According to the WHO, the six cases involve four men and two women aged 35 to 77, five of whom have underlying illnesses. They experienced onset of symptoms between June 17 and July 5. Four of the patients have a history of contact with camels while three of them had also consumed raw camel milk. The investigation into the remaining two patients' history of exposure to known risk factors in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms is ongoing. All of the patients are currently hospitalised for treatment.
     To date, 1 374 cases have been reported to the WHO, including at least 490 deaths. Of note, 1 161 cases globally were confirmed in nine Middle East countries, including 1 043 in the KSA, 76 in the United Arab Emirates, 13 in Qatar, 12 in Jordan, six each in Iran and Oman, three in Kuwait, and one each in Lebanon and Yemen.

     "We again urge the public to pay special attention to safety during travel, taking due consideration of health risks of the places of visit," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     "In view of the latest situation in Korea, the public should avoid unnecessary travel to Korea, in particular those with chronic illnesses. Travellers in Korea and the Middle East should avoid unnecessary visits to healthcare facilities. In addition, travellers to the Middle East should avoid going to farms, barns or markets with camels, and avoid contact with sick persons and animals, especially camels, birds or poultry," the spokesman advised.

     The CHP will maintain close communication with the WHO and the relevant health authority. Members of the public and the healthcare sector should heighten vigilance and stay alert to the latest situation.

Ends/Friday, July 24, 2015
Issued at HKT 16:42


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