Move over, bird flu—MERS is in the spotlight.
Health authorities in Guangdong province are treating the first suspected case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome after a South Korean man whose family members were infected with the virus broke voluntary quarantine and entered China on Tuesday.
The 44-year-old man has been placed under isolation in Huizhou, Guangdong province. He has not yet been confirmed as a MERS case, but his father and older sister were both confirmed to have caught the virus.
South Korean officials said the man had ignored travel warnings and flew into Hong Kong before taking a bus to Guangdong, according to CRI.
“We confirmed on May 27 that a suspected patient of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) left for China on May 26. Under international health regulations, we notified the World Health Organization for the Western Pacific region and China’s Health Ministry to take him in to be examined and treated.”
At total of 35 people who came in close contact with him are now under observation.
South Korea has confirmed seven MERS cases as of Thursday, the first case being a 68-year-old man who’d traveled to Bahrain and returned to South Korea via Qatar last month.
UPDATE [5:30 p.m.]: A woman who shared a flight into Hong Kong with the Korean passenger has been rushed to a hospital after showing symptoms of MERS. According to SCMP:
The middle-aged woman, wearing full protective gear including a mask and cap, was seen being transported by ambulance from Sham Shui Po to the infectious disease centre at Princess Margaret Hospital at noon, according to a source. Healthcare staff who accompanied her to the hospital in Lai King were also clad in full protective gear.
The source said the woman was transported to the infectious disease centre for further examination after showing symptoms of the disease, but doctors are yet to confirm whether she has the virus.
[Image via CRI]