The World Health Organization has published the following DON update on Thailand’s first imported case of MERS – an Omani businessman who arrived in Bangkok on June 15th. Prior to traveling to Thailand, he’d been hospitalized – with unspecified `symptoms’ – on June 10th in Oman.
Earlier reports had stated the 75 year-old patient had traveled to Thailand for treatment for a heart ailment.
Today’s report leaves open a a lot of questions, including:
- What were his symptoms while he was being treated in Oman?
- What tests were conducted before he left?
- How much oversight or input did his doctors have on his travel plans?
If nothing else, this illustrates how easy it is for anyone – even someone who has `symptoms’ – to board an airplane and travel to anyplace in the world.
Disease outbreak news
20 June 2015
On 18 June 2015, the National IHR Focal Point of Thailand notified WHO of the country’s first confirmed case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
Details of the case are as follows:
The case is a 75-year-old, Omani male that travelled from Oman to Thailand to seek medical care. The patient, who has comorbidities, developed symptoms on 10 June and was admitted to hospital in Oman. As symptoms did not improve, he decided to travel to Thailand to seek treatment. He took a flight with three family members and arrived in Bangkok on 15 June. Neither the patient nor his family members reported fever upon arrival in Thailand. He was admitted to hospital on 15 June and tested positive for MERS-CoV on 18 June. On 18 June, the patient and his three family members were transferred to another health care facility where they were put in isolation. Currently, the patient is in stable condition.
Public health response
National health authorities in Thailand are implementing the following public health measures:
- reviewing and strengthening infection prevention and control measures at the hospital where the patient was initially admitted,
- carrying out contact tracing of household and healthcare contacts,
- activating the Emergency Operation Center as well as the preparedness and response units.
Information on this event is also being shared between the two concerned countries, Thailand and Oman.
Globally, since September 2012, WHO has been notified of 1,334 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including at least 471 related deaths.