DOHA: A 29-year-old Qatari youth has been infected with the coronavirus-Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the second incident of its kind reported in the country in a week.
The new case apparently involves the youngest victim in Qatar, infected with the virus until now, and has taken the total number of MERS cases in the country to four.
The Supreme Council of Health (SCH) said yesterday that the patient was in a critical condition, in the intensive care unit of the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).
The victim was suffering from asthma, the SCH said in a statement last evening.
“After checking the patient, samples have been sent to the National Influenza Laboratory and abroad for further tests.
Last Tuesday, the SCH announced the third MERS case in Qatar, involving a 59-year-old citizen, who experienced symptoms while he was out of the country. The case was confirmed after tests at the laboratory.
Two Qataris were infected by the virus earlier, one of them died in a London hospital in June, about nine months after he was reported ill.
Until now, 104 MERS cases have been reported across the world and 49 victims have died. Majority of the dead were above 40 years.
The highest number of cases — 82 — were reported in the neighbouring Saudi Arabia, including 41 deaths.
The SCH said that it was monitoring the situation and taking steps to fight the virus by isolating each acute respiratory infection case.
People returning from vacation have been advised to undergo a check-up in any of the clinics or primary health centres if they experience symptoms associated with the disease.
Common symptoms include fever, cough, shortening of breath, diarrhoea and vomiting.
The SCH has created a special link on its website to raise awareness about the disease and set up a hotline — 6674 0948 — available round the clock.
In view of an increase in cases, World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised all member states to continue surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and carefully review any unusual patterns.
Member sates have also been asked to promptly assess and notify WHO of any new case of infection. The organisation, however, has not recommended any special screenings at points of entry or the application of any travel or trade restrictions.