Tests clear suspected MERS case in Czech hospital

Tests clear patient admitted to Czech hospital with suspected of MERS virus

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Tests have shown a Czech man hospitalised in Prague suspected of being infected with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) does not have the potentially deadly virus, Health Minister Svatopluk Nemecek said on Wednesday.

A 25-year-old man from South Korea was admitted to the Prague Bulovka hospital on Tuesday after it was believed he may have contracted the MERS virus.

The patient was kept in an isolation ward at the hospital pending tests.

MERS, medical name HCoV-EMC/2012, or Human Coronavirus, has infected 154 people in South Korea and killed 20 since it was first diagnosed in May.

There have, however, been no confirmed cases of the virus in the Czech Republic so far.

Earlier on Tuesday, German officials said a man died of complications stemming from the virus in northwest Germany, marking the first death as a result of the virus in Europe.

In Slovakia, a test also showed another South Korean man suspected of having MERS was not infected.

A woman was also quarantined in Russia’s Far Eastern Primorsky Territory on suspicion that she may be infected with the MERS, local authorities reported.

"Epidemiologists are now monitoring a woman from Ussuriysk who has recently returned from South Korea, where she came into contact with a (MERS) infected individual at one of the hospitals in Seoul’s suburbs," the Primorsky administration said in a Wednesday statement.

The woman remains quarantined at home, the administration’s spokesperson told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

"The patient has not been hospitalized as there are no grounds for it. She is in quarantine at home. Her samples, taken for analysis, will be studied at a laboratory. Conclusions regarding her condition can only be made after that," the spokesperson said.

MERS  is a virus from the same family as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). While MERS is deadlier than SARS, it does not spread as easily.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the outbreak of MERS was first identified in 2012 in Saudi Arabia.

The man believed to be "patient zero" in the current outbreak in South Korea visited Saudi Arabia in May, as well as with three other Middle-Eastern countries. The 68-year-old patient went from facility-to-facility near or around Seoul before getting properly diagnosed, triggering the hospital-based transmission of MERS in South Korea.

The South Korean outbreak is the largest outside of Saudi Arabia.

TRTWorld and agencies