On July 10, 2023, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) informed the World Health Organization (WHO) of a newly confirmed case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The infected individual is a 28-year-old male from Al Ain city, Abu Dhabi, with no known contact with dromedaries, goats, or sheep. The patient was admitted to the hospital on June 8, displaying symptoms ,a nasopharyngeal swab tested positive for MERS-CoV.
Contact tracing efforts have been initiated, identifying 108 contacts, all of whom have been monitored for 14 days since their last exposure to the patient. To date, no secondary cases have been reported. WHO urges member states to maintain strong surveillance for acute respiratory infections, including MERS-CoV, and to remain vigilant in detecting any unusual patterns. The virus, primarily transmitted to humans through dromedaries, can cause severe respiratory illness and has globally claimed 936 lives.
Health authorities are advised to practice infection prevention and control measures in healthcare settings, while individuals visiting areas with dromedaries are encouraged to adopt general hygiene practices and handle animal products with care. Since July 2013, when the UAE reported the first case of MERS-CoV, 94 confirmed cases (including this new case) and 12 deaths have been reported. Globally, the total number of confirmed MERS-CoV cases reported to WHO since 2012 is 2605, including 936 associated deaths. WHO will continue to closely monitor the situation, expecting additional MERS-CoV cases to emerge in the Middle East and other regions where dromedaries are carriers. The organization calls for heightened awareness and swift responses to mitigate the potential spread of the virus.