Abu Dhabi: Two new cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (Mers-CoV) have been detected in the capital, the UAE Ministry of Health confirmed on Wednesday.
Both individuals are reported to be stable at present, and are continuing to receive the necessary treatment.
A ministry official told Gulf News that one of the infected patients is Emirati, while the other is of Arab origin. Both are middle-aged.
“They are being treated at an Abu Dhabi hospital and are expected to be discharged within a few days,” he added.
The authority added that there is no cause for panic, and advised people to simply practise general hygiene measures, including regular handwashing, covering the mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing and use of sterilisers.
According to the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) release on July 4, a total of 827 laboratory-confirmed cases of Mers-CoV infections have been reported since September 2012. More than 280 patients have succumbed to the disease, with the majority of fatalities in Saudi Arabia.
In the UAE, many infected individuals have eventually recovered from the disease without medical intervention. As Gulf News reported in April, Dr Fareeda Al Hosani, manager of communicable diseases at the Health Authority Abu Dhabi, explained that infected patients are hospitalised after being diagnosed in accordance with an international precautionary measure to keep them under observation, and away from healthy individuals.
In a bid to limit the spread of the virus, the UAE ministries of health and foreign affairs and the Saudi Ministry of Health have also recently advised that pregnant women, children, those aged above 65 and individuals suffering from chronic diseases reconsider their decision to perform the voluntary Umrah pilgrimage in Makkah. Pilgrim numbers tend to soar during the month of Ramadan, and afterwards as the time for the mandatory Haj pilgrimage draws near.
There is still no cure for Mers-CoV and its route of transmission is not known, although Middle Eastern camels have been detected as harbouring the virus. Last month, the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory in Dubai launched a study to determine how the Mers-CoV may be transferred from camels to humans.
At present, the WHO still does not recommend any travel and trade restrictions or screenings at points of entry, but it advises extra caution for patients with chronic diseases.
“Until more is understood about Mers-CoV, people with diabetes, renal failure, chronic lung disease, and immunocompromised persons are considered to be at high risk from Mers‐CoV infection. Therefore, these people should avoid close contact with animals, particularly camels, when visiting farms, markets, or barn areas where the virus is known to be potentially circulating,” the WHO release advises. It adds that people should avoid drinking raw camel milk or eating camel meat that has not been properly cooked.