MUSCAT: A 71-year-old Omani was quarantined at a hospital in Bangkok after he was diagnosed with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, according to Thai media reports.
Quoting Thailand’s Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, the media reported that this was the second case of the MERS virus identified in Thailand.
“This case of virus-afflicted Omani was detected on Friday. He was travelling to Bangkok,” Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn told a news conference in Bangkok.
“After he took a taxi to a hotel, the Omani national was checked for the virus at a hospital which is when the MERS virus was detected,” the report quoted the minister as saying.
According to the media reports, the man tested positive for MERS at Bamrungrad and Chulalongkorn hospitals.
The man was referred to Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute on Saturday at 6.20pm. Another laboratory test by the Medical Science Department confirmed that he had, indeed, contracted MERS.
The minister said the Omani man was now quarantined at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute of the Diseases Control Department.
The Public Health Ministry is looking for people which had come into contact with the patient. These included a relative who had accompanied the patient, 218 people, including crew members and passengers who are still in Thailand, one taxi driver, a hotel employee, and 30 hospital staff.
These people will be kept under close surveillance for 14 days. Of them, 37 have been categorised as high-risk. They included the patient’s relative, 23 air passengers, the taxi driver, the hotel employee, and 11 hospital staff.
Several attempts by the Times of Oman to seek a comment from the Ministry of Health in Oman went in vain. Thailand’s first MERS case was detected last year, and was of a businessman from Oman who survived the disease.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation’s Regional Office for South-East Asia tweeted vide its official twitter handle on Sunday, cautioning against the need to remain vigilant.
According to Oman’s World Health Organisation (WHO) office’s statement on its website, on January 3, the National IHR Focal Point of Oman had notified the WHO of one additional case of MERS infection.
“A 44-year-old male from the North Batinah Governorate developed symptoms on December 25 and on January 1, and was admitted to hospital. On January 3, the patient, who has no comorbidity, tested positive for MERS-CoV. Currently, he is in stable condition in a negative pressure isolation room in a ward. The patient has a history of exposure to dromedary camels in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms. He did not have any history of exposure to other known risk factors in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms. Contact tracing of household contacts is ongoing for the case,” the WHO statement said.