Thailand confirms first case of deadly Mers virus

Thailand confirms first case of deadly Mers virus

An official tests for the Mers virus from samples taken a man from the Middle East at a Department of Medical Sciences lab on Thursday. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
An official tests for the Mers virus from samples taken a man from the Middle East at a Department of Medical Sciences lab on Thursday. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Thailand has confirmed its first known case of the deadly Mers virus, after a man who arrived from a Middle Eastern country was treated for a heart condition.

Public Health Minister Rajata Rajatanavin said on Thursday that two laboratories had confirmed the results.

He said the 75-year-old man has been quarantined at Bamrasbaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Nonthaburi province.

Mr Rajata said the patient was travelling with three family members who are being monitored at the facility.

The Public Health Ministry said 59 others are being monitored. They were in contact with the man, including nearby passengers on the airplane and a taxi driver.

People from the Middle East frequently come to Thailand for medical treatment.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has urged the public not to panic following the first confirmed case of the deadly Mers virus in the country.

Earlier, the Disease Control Department said it was screening travellers at 67 points of entry.

"We are checking 67 ports including land, sea and air," said department director-general Sophon Mekthon.

"We've told all hospitals in Thailand to be on alert. Those who come back from the Middle East and South Korea must be checked thoroughly."

An outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome has killed 23 people and sickened more than 160 in South Korea. Around the world, related deaths have been put at 458.



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