A man in his late 20s has tested positive for the potentially fatal Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in a city in Abu Dhabi, the World Health Organisation said on Monday.
The patient, 28, was detected with the disease in the city of Al Ain and was admitted to a hospital last month. Health officials had checked 108 people that he was in contact with, but no secondary infections had turned up so far.
The health body said that there is no record of the man coming in contact with dromedary camels, which spread the disease that is separate from COVID-19. It gave no more details on his current condition.
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The United Arab Emirates health ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the case.
What is MERS-CoV?
First identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a respiratory disease caused by the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS‐CoV).
Over 35 per cent of MERS-CoV cases have resulted in death, according to WHO.
It is a zoonotic virus, meaning it can be easily transmitted between animals and people. MERS-CoV has been identified and linked to human infections in dromedary camels in several Member States in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.
Symptoms of MERS-CoV
MERS-CoV is both symptomatic and asymptomatic. Symptoms include mild respiratory issues to acute respiratory disease and even death.
A typical presentation of MERS is fever, cough and shortness of breath.
Gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, have also been reported.
“Older people, people with weakened immune systems, and those with chronic diseases such as renal disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes appear to be at greater risk of developing severe disease,” according to WHO.
Treatment of MERS-CoV
Although no vaccine or specific treatment is yet available to cure the disease, they are in clinical development.
“In the absence of MERS-specific therapeutics, treatment of MERS patients is supportive and based on the patient’s clinical condition,” according to WHO.