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Update on latest MERS situation in Saudi Arabia

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (July 30) closely monitoring eight additional cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), including one death, reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

     According to the WHO, they include six men and two women aged from 28 to 93 (median: 53), and five of them have underlying illnesses. Two are contacts of previously confirmed patients while one who died was a family member of a previously confirmed patient. One had frequent contact with camels and consumption of raw camel milk, one lives in an area with several camel farms, and one owns a camel farm.

     In addition, two previously confirmed patients died.

     To date, 1 382 cases have been reported to the WHO, including at least 493 deaths. Of note, 1 169 were confirmed in nine Middle East countries, including 1 051 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 authorities. Members of the public and the healthcare sector should heighten vigilance and stay alert to the latest situation.

Ends/Thursday, July 30, 2015
Issued at HKT 10:36


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