THAILAND has found a third case of the Middle East respiratory syndrome corona virus (MERS-CoV) in an 18-year-old Kuwaiti man, Disease Control Department (DCD) chief Amnuay Kajeena revealed yesterday.
The incident prompted the DCD to set up a special coordination centre at its head office to trace those exposed to him, including those on the same flight.
The patient, who entered Thailand on July 25 along with his father and grandmother, was being treated in an isolated room while the two relatives as well as a taxi driver were put on quarantine. After 14 days, when the patient’s condition improves and he is cured of the infection, he would be allowed to go home, Amnuay added.
Amnuay said the family had come to seek treatment for the grandmother’s knee problem when her grandson developed flu-like symptoms on July 26. The private hospital that treated the grandmother collected his sample for lab test, which showed the next day that he had MERS-CoV.
The DCD stepped in and took the man for treatment to an isolated room at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Nonthaburi last Thursday.
“The patient’s fever has come down and he does not have any worrisome symptoms. Fourteen days after his treatment started, if the lab test results show he is free of the infection, he would be released from the institute,” he said, adding the young man’s two close relatives as well as a taxi driver were also brought under the institute’s care.
Amnuay explained that this teenager, despite detection of the virus in him, was categorised as a person “likely to fall ill” from MERS-CoV – apart from two other categories of “confirmed” patients and the “variable group”. The tests of his bodily fluids at four labs (Medical Science Department, Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute, Chulalongkorn Hospital and Ramathibodi Hospital) found the virus but the results had some uncertainty pending confirmation from experts.
The teenager was the country’s third case of MERS-CoV and the second case found this year. The first case was found last year in a 75-year-old Middle Eastern man and the second case was found in January 2016 in a 71-year-old Omani man. All were admitted to the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute until they recovered and returned to their home countries. As of July 25, the World Health Organisation reported that 1,791 patients were confirmed to have MERS-CoV and 640 had died from the infection in 27 countries – most of them in the Middle East.