Pattaya Daily News

25 April 2014 :: 14:04:33 pm 84940

Phuket Prepares to Combat Virus from Middle East

The Phuket Health Department is getting ready to cope with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, a SARS-like infection that appears to have crossed over from camels into the human population in the Middle East.
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Most infections and deaths have been in the Middle East but one person has died in Malaysia and another infection was detected recently in the Philippines.

Dr Krit Sakulpaet, Assistant Director of the Phuket Health Department, said “The Malaysian case was in a Malaysian man aged 54 who was in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from March 15 to 28, became ill on April 4 and died on April 13. This was the first death [from MERS] in Asia.”

“A Filipino male nurse was found to be infected, but with no symptoms. He had been working in the UAE.

“No infections have been detected in Thailand. However there is a risk from Thai people who travel to Mecca on the Umra minor pilgrimage bringing it back with them, from tourists arriving from the Middle East and from Thai workers returning from that region.”

Dr Krit said, “There is no need to install body temperature checking machines [at the airport] at the moment to screen incoming passengers [as was the case when the SARS scare was at its height]

“But we ask the people coming back from abroad to check if you have any flu-like symptoms, such as a fever or a cough.

“If you do, please wear a mask, clean your hands often and stay away from other people. If the symptoms persist for more than two days, please go to see a doctor.”

MERS is an infectious disease, similar to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) which caused worries about a pandemic, particularly in China, where 775 people died from it in 2002 and 2003.

MERS is more deadly than SARS, with 98 deaths among the 275 diagnosed as being infected – roughly one third – but it also appears to be more difficult to contract, so its spread is slower.

The fear is that it may, like all viruses, mutate, giving rise to a form of the disease that spreads more easily.

So far, all but 12 of the 275 cases have been in the Middle East. Six of those 12 have died – three in the UK, and one each in France, Germany and Malaysia.

View the original story on The Phuket News

Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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