Thursday, October 02, 2014

WHO Update On Austrian (Imported) MERS Case


# 9140


We’ve details this morning on Tuesday’s reported MERS case in Vienna, Austria – that of a 29 year-old woman who recently arrived from Saudi Arabia.  Aside from her travel history, we learn she had no exposure to camels or their products, no healthcare stays, an no contact with a known or suspected MERS case.


Two close contacts, who have presented with respiratory symptoms, have been hospitalized are are being tested for the virus.


Public health officials are following up on contact tracing, both in country, and for possible contacts on the patients flight (where such data is available).



Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Austria

Disease Outbreak News
2 October 2014

On 30 September 2014, the National IHR Focal Point for Austria notified WHO via the European Commission’s Early Warning and Response System (EWRS) of a laboratory confirmed case of Middle-East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection diagnosed in Vienna, Austria. This is the first MERS-CoV case in Austria.

Details of the case reported are as follows

The case is a 29 year old female citizen of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (SAU), who travelled on 22 September 2014 to Vienna, Austria on a flight from Doha, Qatar. She had originally travelled from Affif, SAU, via Riyadh, by car. The case was symptomatic with an upper respiratory infection and fever prior to arrival in Austria.

The patient sought medical treatment in Austria on 24 September 2014, and was transferred to a private hospital on 26 September and then, on 28 September 2014, to the reference hospital for highly infectious diseases in Vienna. The patient is currently in a stable condition. No exposure to camels or their products, no prior hospital admission, nor contact to a known MERS-CoV case, nor any sick person has been reported.

The MERS-CoV infection was laboratory confirmed on 29 September 2014 by RT-PCR targeting 2 distinct targets. A further target was confirmed positive on 30 September 2014.

Public health response

All of the contacts identified in Austria have been informed about the disease and are being followed up by Austrian health authorities. So far 2 close contacts have presented with upper respiratory symptoms and are admitted to hospital. Laboratory results of these contacts are pending as of 30 September 2014.

The Austrian health authorities assume that the patient was infectious prior to, and during the international flights. Follow-up with passengers on the flight is ongoing and personal data of the crew on the flight has been communicated to Qatar.

WHO is facilitating contacts between the IHR NFPs of Austria and SAU to allow for exchange of information, and identification and follow-up of contacts of the case in SAU. Contact tracing will depend on the availability of the passenger data.

Globally, 853 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV including at least 301 related deaths have officially been reported to WHO.