The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that a 28-year-old man from Abu Dhabi has tested positive for the potentially fatal Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

According to details, the infected individual, a non-Emirati, resides in Al Ain city and was admitted to a hospital last month.

On 13 June, he was referred to an intensive care unit in critical condition. As his condition began to deteriorate, a nasopharyngeal swab was collected on 21 June and the man tested positive for MERS-CoV two days later.

So far, 108 individuals who came into contact with the patient have been screened, but no secondary infections have been reported at this stage.

The current condition of the infected man is yet to be disclosed.

Health authorities are also investigating the source of the infection. At this time, there are no indications that the man had contact with dromedary camels, which are known carriers of MERS-CoV and have been linked to previous outbreaks.

No vaccine or specific treatment is currently available, the health body said adding that several MERS-CoV-specific vaccines and treatments are in development.

At least 94 cases and 12 related deaths have been recorded in the United Arab Emirate (UAE) since it was first reported in July 2013.

Globally, the total number of confirmed MERS-CoV cases reported to WHO since 2012 is 2605, including 936 associated deaths.

What is MERS-CoV?

MERS is a viral respiratory disease caused by the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS‐CoV). It was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and has since been a cause of concern for health authorities globally.

This distinguishes MERS from Covid-19, which is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

MERS-CoV can lead to severe respiratory illness, with symptoms ranging from fever, cough, and shortness of breath to more serious complications like pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

The virus has a higher mortality rate compared to Covid-19, with some outbreaks reporting death rates of around 35%.

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