The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified a case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in a 28-year-old male from United Arab Emirates (UAE), it said in a statement.

According to WHO, the patient is a resident of Al Ain city in Abu Dhabi, and had no travel history. He also presented no history of direct or indirect contact with dromedaries (camels), goats, or sheep.

The patient rushed to the hospital on 8 June with symptoms like fever, cough and shortness of breath where he was confirmed MERS-CoV positive. As a part of surveillance and contact tracing, authorities have identified 108 immediate contacts of the case who are being monitored for being exposed to the MERS-CoV patient. However, no secondary case was identified. The case has no family members or household contacts identified in the UAE.

MERS-CoV is a viral respiratory infection that is caused by a coronavirus called Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Humans are infected with direct or indirect contact with dromedary camels who are the natural host and zoonotic source of the MERS-CoV infection.

“WHO continues to monitor the epidemiological situation and conducts risk assessments based on the latest available information. WHO expects that additional cases of MERS-CoV infection will be reported from the Middle East and/or other countries where MERS-CoV is circulating in dromedaries," WHO said in a statement.

“WHO re-emphasizes the importance of strong surveillance by all Member States for acute respiratory infections, including MERS-CoV, and to carefully review any unusual patterns," it said.

The first case of MERS-CoV was reported in UAE in July 2013. Till date, UAE has reported 94 confirmed cases and 12 deaths. Globally, the total number of confirmed MERS-CoV cases reported to WHO since 2012 is 2,605, including 936 associated deaths.

WHO said that no vaccine or specific treatment is currently available, although several MERS-CoV-specific vaccines and treatments are in development. Treatment is supportive and based on the patient’s clinical condition.

Meanwhile, the UN health agency has initiated the process for genomic analysis. “This will identify any genetic evolution of the virus and support WHO’s global risk assessment efforts," it said.

As a general precaution, anyone visiting farms, markets, barns or other places where dromedaries are present should practise general hygiene measures, including regular hand washing after touching animals, avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with hands, and avoiding contact with sick animals. People may also consider wearing protective gowns and gloves while professionally handling animals.

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Updated: 25 Jul 2023, 08:09 PM IST

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