Taipei suspected MERS case tests negative (Taiwan News)

May 31, 2015

Taipei, May 31 (CNA) A 34-year-old Taiwanese man suspected of having the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), who traveled to Dubai and Vietnam earlier this month, has tested negative for the illness, health authorities said Sunday. After gSouth Korea reported more than a dozen MERS virus infections, sparking fears of the spread of the virus to Taiwan, Neihu District in Taipei reported a suspected MERS-CoV case involving the man a day earlier, but it turned out to be type B influenza, according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chou Jih-haw (???). The man went on a business trip to Dubai May 23-25 before heading to Vietnam May 26-29. He fell ill and began suffering from fever and a sore throat May 28 and sought medical attention at a hospital the following day. The hospital then took samples from him and reported his case to health agencies. According to gSouth Korean health officials, the first confirmed case in gSouth Korea was found in a 68-year-old man who traveled to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in April and May. He returned to gSouth Korea via Qatar. Since then, the virus has spread to victims with whom he came into close contact, including a nurse and other hospital patients. Since Korea’s outbreak of MERS, the largest among non-Middle Eastern countries, Taiwan has reported 17 suspected cases, all of which were negative, Chou said, adding that medical institutions around Taiwan have taken measures to prevent infections and border controls to prevent the spread of the disease have been tightened. The CDC urged people suspected of having contracted the coronavirus to call the center’s hotline 1922 to seek help. The first cases of MERS were identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. The virus has been linked to the SARS outbreak of 2003, which was responsible for approximately 800 deaths, including some 50 in Taiwan. Since 2012, MERS cases have been reported in other countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and the United States. Most cases outside of the Middle East have been reported by people who recently traveled there. MERS primarily causes fever, cough and shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Pneumonia is common, and sometimes it may cause injury to organs, such as the kidneys. At present, there is no cure or vaccine. (By Zoe Wei and Evelyn Kao)