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Second MERS case reported in Austria

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Second MERS case reported in Austria
Photo: JJRON/Wikimedia
20:16 CEST+02:00
According to a report from the WHO, a second case of the Middle-East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection (MERS-CoV) has now been reported in Austria.

The patient is a 67 year old male visitor from Saudi Arabia (citizen and resident) who arrived in Vienna, Austria on 4 September 2016. The onset of symptoms (fever and cough) was on 6 September.

The patient, who has an underlying medical condition, was hospitalized with severe pneumonia on 7 September, and he is currently in isolation in critical condition.

MERS-CoV was confirmed on 8 September by the reference laboratory in Vienna.

The patient, who is a camel breeder, has confirmed contact with camel livestock in Saudi Arabia in the 14 days prior to symptom onset. 

The first MERS-CoV case in Austria was notified on 30 September 2014.

In Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Agriculture has been informed and investigation of camels is ongoing. The camels have been sampled and are under quarantine.

Based on the current available information regarding this single case reported in Austria, there is a risk for serious public health impact given that MERS has caused severe human infections.

According to WHO, MERS infections often result in a high case fatality rate and have demonstrated the ability to transmit between humans especially in health care settings with the potential to lead to large scale outbreaks. 

People should avoid close contact with animals, particularly camels, when visiting farms, markets, or barn areas where the virus is known to be potentially circulating.

General hygiene measures, such as regular hand washing before and after touching animals and avoiding contact with sick animals, should be adhered to.

Food hygiene practices should also be observed. People should avoid drinking raw camel milk or camel urine, or eating meat that has not been properly cooked.

WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event nor does it currently recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions.

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