The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday revealed it has been notified of the death of man infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Oman.
According to WHO, the latest case involved a 59 year-old man who became ill with fever, cough and shortness of breath on December 20. He was admitted to hospital in North Batinha Governorate four days later.
The condition of the patient deteriorated on December 28. He was then transferred to an intensive care unit at the hospital and was diagnosed with pneumonia. WHO said the patient died on December 30.
The UN agency said the laboratory confirmation of MERS-CoV was made on January 1. The patient had a history of daily exposure to camels and other farm animals, and participated in camel race events. In addition, the man was a heavy smoker.
From September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a total of 178 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV globally, including 75 deaths.
Based on the current situation and available information, WHO urged all Member-States to continue surveillance for Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI) and carefully review any unusual patterns.
WHO stressed that recent travelers returning from the Middle East who develop SARI should be tested for MERS-CoV as advised in the current surveillance recommendations.
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause a range of ailments from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which became an epidemic in 2003. The virus could be transmitted between people in close and prolonged contact. The sources of infection for the new coronavirus are still unclear.
The deadly Novel Coronavirus (NCoV) strain, recently renamed MERS-CoV, reflects the fact that most of the reported cases are from that region, mainly Saudi Arabia.
Nevertheless, France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and the United Kingdom have also reported laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infections. Those patients were either transferred there for care or returned from the Middle East and subsequently became ill.
by RTT Staff Writer
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