New MERS Corona Virus in Abu Dhabi

Health authorities confirmed a new case of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus in Abu Dhabi. The patient is a 59-year-old resident of the capital, who also has diabetes and final stage renal failure, according to HAAD statement.

Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) said in a statement on Tuesday that a patient in Abu Dhabi hospital has been diagnosed with MERS. The 59-year-old man is currently on dialysis due to his underlying conditions – diabetes and a final stage renal failure. After showing respiratory symptoms, he was hospitalized and diagnosed with the potentially deadly disease. HAAD also said that it is cooperating with the Ministry of Health and has taken into consideration all recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Since the detection of the MERS coronavirus in September 2012, the number of laboratory-confirmed cases have reached 207, including 87 deaths, according to the latest report by WHO on 1st April. The largest part of the infections have been found in Saudi Arabia, with cases also in Qatar, the UAE, Jordan, Oman, and Kuwait, as well as several infections in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Tunisia.

According to health experts, patients with underlying health conditions, little children and the elderly are the most susceptible group. Although the virus has a high death rate, it is less contagious than other corona viruses such as the SARS, which infected around 8,000 people and killed 10 percent of them in 2003. There is still very limited information on the transmission and the clinical impact of the illness. However, latest studies say that domesticated camels were found to be the source of infection. So, experts recommend avoiding direct contact with camels and other animals in countries on and around the Arabian Peninsula. The government of Saudi Arabia even advised pilgrims who travel to Mecca and Medina for the annual Hajj to postpone their travel, or to cancel it at all if possible.

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