Thailand reports first MERS case; South Korea adds 3

Friday, June 19, 2015
By Paul Martin

Lisa Schnirring
CIDRAP News
Jun 18, 2015

Thailand today announced its first MERS-CoV case, involving a 75-year-old man who arrived from Oman to receive medical care for a heart condition, making the country the 17th outside of the Arabian Peninsula to detect the virus in a traveler.

The man and his family landed in Bangkok at a time when airports and hospitals, especially those in Asia, are on heightened alert for MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) in the wake of another travel-linked case that sparked the current large hospital-linked outbreak in South Korea.

One of the first patients infected in South Korea’s outbreak flew to China, becoming that country’s first imported MERS-CoV case, and Chinese experts today shared the lessons they’ve learned so far in treating the man and following contacts.

Korean health officials today reported 3 new cases, edging its total to 165, and said 3 more people have died from their infections, bringing the fatality count to 23.

Positive tests after Oman visit
The man arrived in Thailand on Jun 15 and was admitted to a private hospital, then transferred to Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute, where he is listed in stable condition, according to a translation of a Thai health ministry statement posted by the blog Avian Flu Diary. Media reports said the first hospital is in Bangkok and the infectious disease facility is on the outskirts of town.

The man was initially tested for MERS-CoV at the first hospital before he was transferred, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported today.

The health ministry said disease prevention and control measures have been taken and that the man and his relatives didn’t mingle with others, but added that 59 people are being monitored for symptoms either in their homes or in the hospital.

Contacts under monitoring include the patient’s three family members, airplane passengers, and a taxi driver, the Bangkok Post reported today, citing the country’s health ministry. Two labs have confirmed the findings.

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