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China prepares to tackle MERS

Source: Xinhua

Updated: 2015-06-05

BEIJING, June 4 (Xinhua) -- China's health authorities and hospitals have been told to step up vigilance against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) as the risk of the epidemic "cannot be ruled out."

Patients displaying symptoms of pneumonia or flu without definite causes, those who have travelled to the Middle East in particular, should be reported, and all staff should be given training before handling suspected MERS cases, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) said in a statement Thursday.

Confirmed cases should be transferred to specialist facilities. These hospitals should follow professional procedures to ensure the timely, efficient and safe treatment of patients, it said.

The NHFPC sounded the alarm because some Chinese Muslims will make the annual pilgrimage, Hajj, to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, around September this year. Frequent people-to-people exchange between China and regions where MERS epidemic was recorded also increased the risk of imported cases, said the statement.

MERS is a respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus, similar to SARS. The first human case was reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. It has a fatality rate of about 40 percent, according to WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier.

China reported its first MERS patient, a man from the Republic of Korea, on Friday in southern province of Guangdong.

According to the NHFPC, the patient is "in a relatively stable condition," and 72 out of 78 people that had been in close contact with him have been quarantined, none are showing any symptoms yet.

Health authorities in Guangdong were told to keep a close eye on the patient and anyone who had close contact with him, while nearby regions should prepare emergency response plans, Thursday's statement added.


Link: China's Central Government / World Health Organization / United Nations Population Fund / UNICEF in China

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