The Public Health England (PHE) has confirmed a case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in England. PHE stressed that the risk to the general population is very low.
The patient initially presented to Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust before being transferred to the Royal Liverpool Hospital. The patient is a resident of the Middle East, where they are believed to have contracted the infection, before travelling to the United Kingdom on 16 August 2018. PHE is contacting a number of passengers who travelled in close proximity to the patient on the same flight (Saudi Arabian Airlines SV123) to the United Kingdom.
Health care professionals are advised to remain vigilant for severe unexplained respiratory illness occurring in anyone who has recently travelled into the United Kingdom from the Middle East, particularly in light of increased travel associated with the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.
Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Medical Director at PHE, said: “Public Health England is following up those who have had close and sustained contact with the patient to offer advice and to monitor them as necessary. It is important to emphasise that although a case has been identified, the overall risk for disease transmission to the public is very low.”
This is the fifth case of MERS diagnosed in England. In 2012-2013, there were 2 imported cases of MERS and 2 cases of onward transmission from 1 of the imported cases.
A PHE guide on MERS-coronavirus: clinical management and guidance is available here.