Man tested for MERS in Slovakia

South Korean man quarantined in Slovakia for potentially carrying Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A 38-year-old man has been tested in the Slovak capital Bratislava on suspicion of carrying the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a spokeswoman of Bratislava's University Hospital said on Sunday.

According to local media, the man entered the country on June 3 to work as a subcontractor at a local branch of the South Korean Kia automaker.

The patient reportedly travelled from the city of Zilina, 200 kiometres north of Bratislava, to take a test in Bratislava's University Hospital.

"He is a 38-year-old man from South Korea who is suffering from diarrhea, fever and lesions on his skin," said Petra Stano Matasovska, a spokesperson of Bratislava's University Hospital.

She added that the man is in stable condition and expects that the test results, which were sent to a laboratory in Prague, will be received on Sunday.   

The Slovak health ministry said the patient has been under isolation and all precautionary measures have been taken in the hotel where he stayed in Zilina.

South Korea’s Health Ministry reported its first MERS case on May 20 when a 68-year-old man from Bahrain who arrived in the country for farming related business was diagnosed on April 18. After his entrance to the country, the virus began to spread rapidly.

South Korean authorities have announced seven further MERS cases, taking to total number to 145. Fifteen people have died since the disease began to spread in the country nearly a month ago.

The outbreak is largest reported outside Saudi Arabia where the virus first arose in 2012.

The World Health Organization said on Saturday that the outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome in South Korea is “large and complex”, adding that it can claim more lives.

The MERS coronavirus is in the same family as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which left more than 800 people dead and infected about 8,000 people worldwide between 2002-2003.

MERS does not spread from human to human easily but its fatality rate is much higher than SARS, with 38 percent of those infected dying, according to World Health Organization (WHO) figures.

TRTWorld and agencies