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Thu 28 Jan 2016 12:28 PM

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Man dies of Mers virus in Abu Dhabi

A second victim has been cleared of the virus and discharged, said Health Authority-Abu Dhabi

Man dies of Mers virus in Abu Dhabi
(Getty Images)

A 73-year-old man has died of the Mers virus in hospital in Abu Dhabi, the health authority has announced.

He had reportedly drunk raw camel milk in the fortnight prior to developing symptoms.

The Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD) announced earlier this month that the deceased was the first confirmed case of MERS coronavirus (Mers-CoV) in the emirates this year. Previously, the last reported case in the UAE had been last June.

The second reported case in 2016 was an acquaintance of the deceased who suffered no symptoms and was cleared of the virus and been discharged, HAAD added in a statement on its website.

An 85-year-old woman from Abu Dhabi has also tested positive for Mers, The National reported. She is asymptomatic and is in a hospital isolation room.

The 73-year-old man reportedly visited a health care clinic in Abu Dhabi after developing symptoms including fever, coughing and shortness of breath on December 27. He was treated and discharged the same day. However, on December 31 he travelled to and from Oman with his family and developed further symptoms on his return to Abu Dhabi the following day.

He was admitted to hospital where he tested positive for Mers-CoV on January 10 and died on Monday.

HAAD said it has taken, in coordination with the Ministry of Health and other medical UAE authorities, “all necessary measures as per international standards and recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO)”.

The National quoted a WHO spokesperson as saying: “The patient had a history of frequent contact with camels. He consumed raw camel milk once in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms.

“He had no history of exposure to other risk factors in Abu Dhabi and in Oman in the 14 days prior to onset of symptoms.”

Who has recorded 1,632 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Mers-CoV, including at least 587 deaths.

People with diabetes, renal failure and chronic lung disease are considered to be at particular risk of contracting the disease.

The WHO spokedperson said: “These people should avoid close contact with animals, particularly camels, when visiting farms, markets, or barn areas where the virus is known to be potentially circulating.

“General hygiene measures, such as regular hand washing before and after touching animals and avoiding contact with sick animals, should be adhered to.

“Food hygiene practices should be observed. People should avoid drinking raw camel milk or camel urine, or eating meat that has not been properly cooked.”   

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