A 66-year-old Qatari man who is in critical condition at Hamad General Hospital has been diagnosed with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), QNA reports.
The man suffers from several chronic diseases and is Qatar’s first recorded case of the virus since May 2015, the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) said.
The patient has been exhibiting symptoms including fever and cough after returning from “a neighboring country.”
Over the next two weeks, health officials will evaluate the man’s family members and others he has come into contact with to see if they have any symptoms, MOPH said.
MERS is a viral respiratory illness, and can spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms include fever, coughing, a sore throat and in some cases, diarrhea.
Qatar’s last recorded cases were in May, when a 29-year-old male expat who worked on a camel farm and a 73-year-old Qatari national were diagnosed with the virus.
So far, six of the 15 people from Qatar who contracted the virus in the past few years have died.
In June 2014, initial results from studies found links between MERS and people working with dromedary camels, prompting new advice and infection control tips for those in close contact with the animals.
Yesterday, Qatar’s public health ministry reminded residents to keep away from camels, especially if they have a weak immune system, adding:
“The public who might be visiting a farm or camel barn should comply with the standard personal hygiene and hand washing before and after handling camel with staying away from sick animals.”
Anyone with questions or symptoms can call the MPH’s dedicated MERS hotline at 6674 0948 or 6674 4095.