Spanish MERS case triggers flight contact tracing

Friday, November 8, 2013
By Paul Martin

Lisa Schnirring
CIDRAP News
Nov 07, 2013

European and Spanish health officials released new details today about a Spanish woman who is hospitalized with a Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection after visiting Hajj holy sites in Saudi Arabia, plus efforts under way to identify those who flew with her from Jeddah to Madrid.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said today in an updated risk assessment that the 61-year-old woman with no known underlying health conditions was in Saudi Arabia from Oct 2 to Nov 1. She visited Medina, then Mecca and had no known contact with animals.

Her symptoms began Oct 15 with cough and fever, and she was seen at a hospital emergency department of a Mecca hospital on Oct 28 and 29, where health workers diagnosed her as having pneumonia, based on chest x-ray findings.

Spain’s health ministry told CIDRAP News that it has relayed more details about the case to European health authorities, including that the woman refused to be hospitalized in Saudi Arabia and was hospitalized in Madrid on Nov 1 when she arrived back in Spain.

According to the ECDC, the patient was sick during the flight and needed oxygen treatment while she was aboard.

The health ministry said she was in Medina from Oct 2 through Oct 10 and in Mecca from Oct 11 through Nov 1.

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