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First confirmed case of MERS in Bahrain

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (April 26) closely monitoring the first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in Bahrain, which was reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) on April 10. The CHP again urged the public to pay special attention to safety during travel, taking due consideration of the health risks in the places they visit.

     According to the WHO, the patient is a 61-year-old man from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). He was admitted to a healthcare facility in Bahrain on March 29 for an unrelated medical condition and tested negative for MERS Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). He developed symptoms on April 4 during hospitalisation and tested positive for MERS-CoV on April 9. The patient owned a dromedary barn in KSA and had history of frequent contact with dromedaries and consumption of their raw milk. He was transferred to a hospital in KSA on April 12 but passed away on the same day.

     To date, 1 725 cases have been reported to the WHO, including at least 624 deaths. Of note, 1 511 were confirmed in ten Middle East countries, with 1 371 in the KSA, 78 in the United Arab Emirates, 28 in Jordan, 14 in Qatar, seven in Oman, six in Iran, four in Kuwait, and one each in Lebanon, Yemen and Bahrain.

     "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 visits 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 known risk factors for acquiring MERS Coronavirus," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     "We will maintain close communication with the WHO and relevant health authorities," the spokesman added.

     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 WHO's latest news (

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

Ends/Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Issued at HKT 11:25


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