Update on latest MERS situation in Saudi Arabia

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (September 7) closely monitoring 12 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), and again urged the public to pay special attention to safety during travel, taking due consideration of the health risks in the places they visit.

     Among the six male and six female patients aged from 10 to 69, seven had underlying illnesses, three had contact with camels, one consumed camel milk and five had contact with confirmed patients.

     In addition, a previously confirmed patient has died.

     To date, 2 079 cases have been reported to the WHO, with at least 722 deaths. There have been 1 863 cases in 10 Middle East countries comprising 1 710 in the KSA, 84 in the United Arab Emirates, 28 in Jordan, 19 in Qatar, eight in Oman, six in Iran, four in Kuwait, two in Lebanon, and one each in Yemen and Bahrain.

     "We will maintain close communication with the WHO and relevant health authorities," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     "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," the spokesman said.

     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 MERS pages of the CHP and its Travel Health Service, MERS statistics in affected areas, the CHP's Facebook Page and YouTube Channel, and the WHO's latest news for more information and health advice. Tour leaders and tour guides operating overseas tours are advised to refer to the CHP's health advice on MERS.

Ends/Thursday, September 7, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:33