Oman not in danger of MERS outbreak, says health ministry - Gulf Business
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Oman not in danger of MERS outbreak, says health ministry

Oman not in danger of MERS outbreak, says health ministry

An Omani businessman infected with the virus is currently in quarantine in Thailand

Oman’s health ministry has said that the country is not in danger of seeing an outbreak of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome following the virus’ detection in an Omani businessman in Thailand.

The 75-year-old, who visited Bangkok earlier this month to reportedly seek treatment for a heart condition, was diagnosed with the MERS coronavirus and is currently in quarantine.

The man visited a hospital in Oman around 10 days before he boarded a flight to Thailand on June 15, local daily Times of Oman reported.

Passengers on board the Oman Air flight that he travelled on have already been advised to seek medical attention as a precautionary measure.

Several people who came into contact with the man, including three relatives who travelled with him, have now been identified, reports said.

Oman’s health ministry said it is taking several precautions.

“The public health response teams are following the household contacts of the case as well as the airline staff who might have been exposed to the case.

“As of now there has been no further spread of the infection,” it said.

However it cautioned people in the sultanate to be careful and practice basic hygiene measures.

“People should take precautions while dealing with animals, especially camels, and they should implement personal hygiene practices such as covering mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing at all times to prevent the spread of infectious micro-organisms.”

Apart from the recent infection, a total of six cases have been detected in the country since the first one in October 2013, Times of Oman quoted an official as saying. “Out of these three have died while others have been discharged,” the official said.

MERS, a deadly virus that first emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012, is known to be contracted through exposure to infected individuals, from hospitals and by direct contact with camels – believed to be carriers of the virus.

The virus is currently spreading rapidly in South Korea, which reported two more deaths and three new cases on June 22, bringing the number of fatalities to 27 and the total infections to 172.

There is no cure or vaccine for MERS, which kills around 40 per cent of its victims.

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