France cites likely MERS case; WHO notes Qatar case

Wednesday, October 30, 2013
By Paul Martin

Robert Roos
Oct 29, 2013

France today reported a probable Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) case in a person who recently traveled to Saudi Arabia, while the World Health Organization (WHO) offered new details on a MERS case reported in Qatar yesterday.

The patient in France is a 43-year-old who recently returned from Saudi Arabia, the French health ministry said in a statement, but it did not specify whether the patient attended the Hajj pilgrimage in mid-October. The patient was hospitalized in northern France yesterday and is in stable condition, the statement said.

The Hajj attracted more than a million foreign visitors to Saudi Arabia and sparked worries about the risk of a MERS explosion. So far no cases have been reported in Hajj pilgrims.

The French health ministry launched an epidemiologic investigation and has informed all the patient’s contact of the case and advised them to take precautions, the statement said.

If the case is confirmed, it will be the third MERS case in France. A 65-year-old man was found to have the virus in early May, after he got sick following an April vacation in the United Arab Emirates, and another man contracted the disease after sharing a hospital room with him.

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