Confirmed MERS Case Detected in UAE, WHO Verifies

The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed on Monday that a 28-year-old expatriate man residing in Al Ain, UAE, has tested positive for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) virus.

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UAE Reports Positive Mers Case: Vigilance Urged for Camel-Related Infection

Admitted to the hospital on June 8, the patient's condition remained critical as he displayed symptoms like vomiting, pain during urination, and gastrointestinal issues. The WHO reported that 108 contacts were identified and closely monitored for 14 days from the last exposure to the patient. Thankfully, no additional cases have been detected among them. Although there were 19 cases of Mers reported globally in 2021, including two in the UAE, numbers have declined significantly since the peak in 2015 when there were 492 confirmed cases of the disease.

MERS-CoV: A More Lethal but Less Transmissible Virus Compared to SARS-CoV-2

Mers-CoV, identified in 2012, is more lethal than Sars-CoV2, the strain responsible for Covid-19. However, it is less easily transmitted. Camels continue to act as reservoirs for the virus, and human infections are often associated with close contact with infected animals. While person-to-person transmission is rare, when it occurs, it is typically within healthcare settings or among household members. People working with camels are at higher risk of contracting Mers, as they can acquire the virus from infected animals. Presently, there is no specific treatment or vaccine for Mers, but ongoing research is underway to develop effective measures.

Unusual MERS-CoV Case Detected in UAE: Patient with No Known Camel or Human Contact

The patient in the UAE, who had no known history of contact with Mers-CoV human cases or camels, was initially diagnosed with acute pancreatitis, acute kidney injury, and sepsis. His critical condition prompted a swab test, which returned a positive reading for the virus. Public health authorities promptly screened 108 healthcare workers who were in contact with the patient, and all returned negative results, demonstrating the effectiveness of infection control measures.

Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre Intensifies Surveillance and Awareness for MERS Cases

Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre has heightened surveillance for Mers cases and is actively raising awareness through workshops and notices. The WHO has stressed the importance of vigilant monitoring and robust surveillance to identify and respond to potential Mers cases. Furthermore, the need to conduct genomic analysis to screen for any unusual patterns in the virus has been highlighted, as this recent case presented severe disease without known exposure to camels or Mers-CoV human cases , Visitors to farms, markets, barns, or other places where camels are present should follow general hygiene practices to minimize the risk of infection. This includes regular handwashing after touching animals, refraining from touching the eyes, nose, or mouth with hands, and avoiding contact with sick animals. By adhering to these measures, individuals can contribute to preventing the spread of the virus and protecting public health.

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