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Russian traveler in Vietnam tests negative for MERS

Russian traveler in Vietnam tests negative for MERS

Thursday, June 25, 2015, 15:40 GMT+7

A Russian woman, quarantined at a hospital in central Vietnam as a suspected case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), has tested negative for the virus, health authorities confirmed on Wednesday.

Tests on the 24-year-old tourist, who had been isolated at the Lam Dong Province General Hospital in Da Lat since June 23, have proven negative for the Coronavirus that causes MERS, said Dr. Dong Si Quang, head of the provincial Health Department’s Division for Medical and Pharmaceutical Affairs. Dr. Quang released this confirmation after the Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute announced that the test on the woman’s medical waste sample, which had been sent to it by the infirmary, showed that she had not been infected with the potentially deadly virus. Following the test result, the woman was released from quarantine and is being taken care of in normal conditions, the hospital said. The woman, whose name has not been released, arrived in Vietnam on June 20 along with her boyfriend, and they visited Da Lat two days later. Before arriving in the Southeast Asian country, the two travelers had transited through Dubai in the United Emirates Arab and Bangkok, Thailand. MERS cases have been confirmed in the two countries. On Tuesday, the woman arrived at Hoan My General Hospital in the province for a check-up as she had developed a fever and sore throat, Dr. Quang said. After receiving a report on the woman’s health condition from this hospital, the provincial Health Department requested that she be transferred to the Lam Dong Province General Hospital for treatment in isolation. Health officials also asked her boyfriend to be quarantined along with her at the same infirmary. Since it first appeared in Saudi Arabia in September 2012, MERS has spread to 27 countries, affecting over 1,300 people and killing more than 480 of them, according to the World Health Organization.

Vietnam has yet to detect anyone infected with MERS, but the virus may penetrate the Southeast Asian country via people who come from areas affected by the epidemic, including Asian countries near it such as China, South Korea and Thailand.

So far, Vietnam has had dozens of suspected MERS cases, tests on which have all proven negative, the ministry said.

MERS has an incubation period of two to 14 days, during which infected people will show no signs of infection, said Dr. Tran Dac Phu, head of the Vietnamese health ministry’s Health Preventive Department.

The disease transmits from ill people to others through close contact and has a mortality rate as high as 40 percent, Dr. Phu warned.

The Hanoi Department of Health has announced a Vietnamese-English hotline at 0969082115, and another in Korean at 0949396115, through which callers can ask questions about MERS and receive replies from epidemic consultants.

The Ministry of Health’s Department for Medical Examination and Treatment Management has also set up a hotline at 0984371919 for information related to MERS.

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