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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

MERS-CoV Infection in Oman (Update)

08 Dec 2016

On 8 December 2016, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reportedLink one additional case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

The case was a 67 year old male from Dakhlia Governorate was admitted to hospital on 20 November 2016 and tested positive for MERS-CoV on 29 November 2016. He was exposed to camels, goats and cows in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms. The patient is in stable condition and has been discharged from hospital.

Contact tracing of the cases household contacts is ongoing and investigations of camels is also ongoing.

Advice for Travellers

The risk associated with MERS-CoV to the general UK population remains extremely low and the risk to travellers to the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding countries remains very low.

Although the source of the virus and the mechanism of transmission is unknown, it would be prudent to try to reduce the general risk of infection while travelling by:

  • Avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
  • Frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.
  • Adhering to food safety and hygiene rules such as avoiding undercooked meats, raw fruits and vegetables unless they have been peeled, or unsafe water.
  • Avoiding close contact with live farm or wild animals.
  • Avoiding contact with camels, consumption of raw camel milk or camel products, eating undercooked camel meat.
  • Travellers to the Middle East who develop symptoms either during travel or after their return are encouraged to seek medical attention and to share their history of travel.
  • People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands) and to delay travel until they are no longer symptomatic.

Based on the information available, WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event nor does it currently recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions.

Note: Some countries have however, introduced special screening at points of entry with regard to this event.