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Fri 12 Jul 2013 10:46 AM

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First SARS-type virus case confirmed in the UAE

Health officials in Abu Dhabi say 82-year-old hospital patient diagnosed with MERS virus

First SARS-type virus case confirmed in the UAE

Health officials in Abu Dhabi have confirmed that an 82-year-old Emirati has been diagnosed with the SARS-type coronovirus.

The elderly man was diagnosed while being treated in one of the hospitals in the UAE capital. It represents the first diagnosed case of the disease within UAE, news agency WAM reported.

The patient is male with multiple myeloma and currently admitted in the ICU, the Health Authority in Abu Dhabi (HAAD) confirmed.

It added that it is coordinating with the Ministry of Health and other authorities in the country and has taken the necessary measures as per the international standards and recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The Ministry of Health said that WHO first issued an international alert in September 2012 and a total of 80 cases of MERS-CoV have been confirmed worldwide. 

The Ministry of Health added that the virus "is not a concern for public health at the moment" and that the current situation does not require a travel ban to any country in the world.

"The ministry reassures everyone that detected cases globally continue to be very low compared to other types of flu. The ministry confirms that the situation does not call for concern and that it is monitoring the situation closely to ensure the health and safety of everyone," a statement said.

On Friday the World Health Organisation said MERS, which can cause fever, coughing and pneumonia, had not yet reached pandemic potential and may simply die out.

So far, Saudi Arabia has been hardest hit by the virus with a total of 38 people dying.

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