Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Malaysia Moves to Contain Deadly MERS Virus

Malaysian health officials inspecting villagers who had contact with a man who died from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-coronavirus (MERS-CoV) disease in Batu Pahat, Johor, on April 18.
European Pressphoto Agency
Authorities have tracked down nearly 200 people in Malaysia, including passengers of two Turkish AirlinesTHYAO.IS +0.88%flights, who came into contact with a man who recently died from a deadly viral disease from the Middle East.
The 54-year-old man who died on April 13 contracted Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, while on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. His death was the first MERS death recorded in Southeast Asia. As of Sunday, no new case of the virus had been detected in Malaysia, said health authorities.
‎All of the 197 people identified by authorities have been asked to monitor their health for two weeks for symptoms, such as fever, cough and breathing problems, said Noor Hisham Abdullah, director-general of Malaysia’s Health Ministry.
The deceased victim developed similar ailments before eventually succumbing to severe pneumonia.
Those who’ve been identified by authorities are not under formal quarantine and were told to seek help should they develop symptoms.
The ministry will “continue to monitor the situation,” Mr. Noor Hisham said, stressing that authorities have carried out prevention and control measures “at every level.”
Earlier, authorities put 64 people in the deceased man’s home village of Kampung Bintang Laut, in Malaysia’s southern state of Johor, under close surveillance. The authorities have not released the name of the victim.
None of those tested so far have been positive for the MERS infection, Mr. Noor Hisham added.

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