Travelers to Middle East advised to remain vigilant over MERS

2018/09/10 20:05:40 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Image taken from Pixabay

Image taken from Pixabay

Taipei, Sept. 10 (CNA) Travelers to the Middle East should remain vigilant to the threat of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a deadly infectious disease gripping that region, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Monday.

A CDC travel advisory for Saudi Arabia remains at level 2, which urges travelers to be on alert and take precautions, according to the CDC.

A level 1 warning, which simply advises travelers to be cautious, remains in place for Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, it said.

The agency uses a three-tier warning system, with level 3 advising against travel to the destination.

On Saturday, South Korea reported an imported case of the respiratory syndrome in a 61-year old male who was infected by the disease following a visit to Kuwait.

It was the first time since July 2015 that a case of MERS had been reported in South Korea, according to foreign media reports.

CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) noted that it was an isolated case, and said those planning to visit South Korea should not be concerned.

MERS is an upper respiratory viral illness caused by the MERS coronavirus, also known as camel flu, because it is mostly found in camels. The incubation period for MERS is approximately 2-14 days.

Most people who have been confirmed as having MERS-CoV infection have flu-like symptoms, including fever, coughing and shortness of breath, he said.

Other symptoms may include chills, sore throat, myalgia, arthralgia, diarrhea and vomiting. Initial non-specific symptoms can progress to pneumonia.

People who show signs of such symptoms within 14 days of returning from any of the affected countries should seek immediate medical attention, Chuang added.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Ko Lin)
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