China confirms first MERS case

China announces its first MERS case as WHO confirms 10 infectees amid fear of outbreak

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

China reported on Friday its first Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) case in a South Korean business man.   

Yang Byung-guk, director of the Korea Center for Disease Control & Prevention (KCDC) last week said that 44-year-old man has refused to stay in a quarantine room and travelled to China.

He  travelled to Huizhou city in China via Hong Kong, according to the South Korean and Chinese authorities.  

The KCDC came under criticism after they allowed him to leave the country for China. Koreans think that the KCDC fails to handle cases of MERS, the centre said “has little risk” but the disease began to spread quickly after the announcement of the first patient.There are some worries that the MERS epidemic could break out in the country.

South Korean health minister confirmed last week that first infected person has caught the virus from his Bahrain trip in April and May, and returned to South Korea via Qatar.

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed on Friday that 10 people were diagnosed with MERS, adding that the infection doesn't spread from person to person.

"The virus is not behaving differently, it is direct transmission and not sustained human-to-human-transmission. They are all related to the same case who came travelling from the Middle East," WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told a briefing.

"Again based on the evidence gathered today, the virus does not seem to pass easily from person to person unless there is a close contact," Lindmeier added.   

China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission said the patient under quarantine is in a hospital in Chinese city of Huizhou. After the chest examination, possible pneumonia was observed on the case.

The health authorities also examined 38 people who had close contact with the patient but they did not determine "unusual" symptoms.

"We understand he is currently in a stable condition, and is being well cared for," the WHO China office said in a statement.

There were 1,142 MERS cases reported worldwide, with 465 deaths being recorded from 23 countries, between April 2012 and May 2015. Most of these cases, 1,117 of them, occurred in the according to South Korea's Health Ministry.


TRTWorld and agencies