Suspected MERS cases reported

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (August 5) reported two suspected cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and again urged the public to pay special attention to safety during travel, taking due consideration of health risks of the places of visit.

     The CHP last night (August 4) was notified of one suspected case who tested negative for MERS Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) upon preliminary testing by the CHP's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch (PHLSB). In addition, the CHP today was notified of one suspected case pending a test result. The cases are detailed in the attachment. Regarding the outstanding test result, the CHP will update the public in due course.

     Furthermore, the two suspected cases pending test results announced yesterday tested negative for MERS-CoV upon preliminary testing by the PHLSB. The cases are also detailed in the attachment.

     "Travellers to the Middle East should avoid going to farms, barns or markets with camels, avoid contact with sick persons and animals, especially camels, birds or poultry, and avoid unnecessary visit to healthcare facilities. We strongly advise travel agents organising tours to the Middle East to abstain from arranging camel rides and activities involving direct contact with camels, which are a known risk factor for acquiring MERS," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     Locally, the DH's surveillance with public and private hospitals, practising doctors and at boundary control points is firmly in place. Inbound travellers and members of the public who recently visited the Middle East or visited Korea on or before July 31 and developed fever or lower respiratory symptoms within 14 days will be classified as suspected MERS cases. They will be taken to public hospitals for isolation and management until their specimens test negative for MERS-CoV.

     Travellers to affected areas should maintain vigilance, adopt appropriate health precautions and take heed of personal, food and environmental hygiene. The public may visit the pages below for more information and health advice:
* The CHP's MERS page (;
* MERS statistics in affected areas (;
* The MERS page of the DH's Travel Health Service (;
* The CHP Facebook Page (;
* The CHP YouTube Channel (; and
* The World Health Organization's latest news (

     Tour leaders and tour guides operating overseas tours are advised to refer to the CHP's health advice on MERS (

Ends/Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Issued at HKT 18:45