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Potential Mers cases placed under watch

The Disease Control Department revealed yesterday that 17 people in Thailand were being closely monitored for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (Mers-CoV).

Dr Sopon Mekthon, the department's director, said three were from Bangkok, six from Pattani, four from Phetchaburi and one each from Samut Prakan, Yala and Trang. One of those under watch is a Saudi national. So far, laboratory tests have not found anybody infected, the doctor added.

Mers is a new virus that is being referred to as the Middle East's version of severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars). Symptoms include fever, coughing, shortness of breath and diarrhoea.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, 495 confirmed cases were reported between April 2012 and May 6 this year. Of these, 141 died. The cases were identified in 17 countries including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, France, the Philippines and Germany.

Sopon said people who visit countries at risk should avoid going to farms and markets that have camels and refrain from touching camels or drinking their milk.


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