For two weeks we’ve been watching a slow uptick in MERS cases in Saudi Arabia, with concerns that with the immense amount of travel to and from Saudi Arabia for the Hajj this month, the virus might be afforded more opportunities to spread other areas of the globe.
Overnight the Austrian Ministry of Health announced their first imported case of MERS, that of a Saudi National who recently arrived from KSA.
This translation from the BMG (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit) (h/t Sharon Sanders on @FluTrackers)
- First MERS CoV case in Austria
- What is MERS?
- Transmission, symptoms and course of disease
- Travel recommendations for the Arabian Peninsula
First MERS CoV case in Austria
The BMG was informed on 29 September on a confirmed female MERS CoV case. It is a citizen of Saudi Arabia, which has traveled a few days ago to Austria. She is currently being cared for in isolation of a Vienna hospital. All possible contact persons are currently being identified and informed about the disease as well as other measures. Of the world since the beginning of the outbreak more than 800 reported cases occurred in a total of 12 in the EU, where it has happened to secondary cases in close human-human contacts. A further spread could be prevented in the countries concerned through appropriate protective measures. These measures are being carried out in Austria.
Although enhanced surveillance for possible MERS cases among travelers coming from the Middle East has been in place for some time, with the recent lull in cases, and a greater concentration on the Ebola threat in Western Africa, MERS has taken a bit of a back seat.
Today’s reports reminds us that there are multiple global public health threats that require vigilance (including Ebola, MERS & Avian flu), and suggests public health agencies around the world are going to have their hands full in the coming months.