The Disease Control Department on Thursday revealed that 17 people have been under close watch for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERSCoV) in Thailand.
Dr Sopon Mekthon, the department’s director, said that three were from Bangkok, six from Pattani, four from Phetchaburi and one each from Samut Prakarn, Yala and Trang. Laboratory tests had not however found any infected patients, the doctor added.
MERS is a new virus, which is often referred to as the Middle East’s own version of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath and even diarrhoea. According to statistics released by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, 495 confirmed cases were reported between April 2012 and May 6. Of these 141 or 28.48 per cent, died. The cases were identified in 17 countries including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, France, Philippines and Germany. In April alone, there were 288 confirmed cases.
The doctor said people who visit countries at risk should avoid visiting farms, agricultural crop warehouses, markets that have camels and refrain from touching camels and drinking camels’ milk.