Thailand has confirmed its first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) as a 75-year-old businessman who arrived from a Middle Eastern nation tested positive for the deadly virus.
Thai Public Health Minister Rajata Rajatanavin said on Thursday that a man who came from Oman for treatment for a heart condition had been diagnosed with MERS.
“From two lab tests we can confirm that the MERS virus was found,” Reuters quoted Rajata as saying at a news conference.
The man was checked for the virus after arriving in Bangkok on June 15, when the results proved positive, he said.
The health minister said 59 others were being monitored for the virus, including three of the man’s relatives who traveled with him to Thailand.
Earlier, authorities said they were screening travelers at 67 points of entry and that they also instructed all hospitals to be on alert.
“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” said Sophon Mekthon, secretary-general of Thailand’s Disease Control Department.
Last month, a MERS outbreak erupted in South Korea resulting in 23 deaths so far. China and the Philippines have also reported one MERS case each in Asia this year.
Overall, Thailand would be the 26th country with confirmed MERS cases since the disease was identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012, according to CNN.
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