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Update on latest MERS situation in Oman
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (February 12) closely monitoring five additional cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), including two deaths, reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by Oman between January 27 to 31, 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.

     According to the WHO, this was a household cluster affecting five female patients aged 30 to 59. Among them, three had underlying illnesses and four had contact with previously confirmed patients. They resided on a farm where dromedary camels and other animals were kept.

     According to the latest information, 2 311 cases have been reported to the WHO (with at least 811 deaths).

     "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 page 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/Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Issued at HKT 16:35
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