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Vietnam’s first suspected MERS-CoV case tests negative

Monday, June 08, 2015, 13:56 GMT+7
Vietnam’s first suspected MERS-CoV case tests negative
Workers disinfect a train carriage at a station in Seoul, on June 7, 2015.

A 52-year-old Vietnamese woman suspected of developing Middle East Respiratory Syndrome caused by the Corona virus (MERS-CoV) has tested negative for the deadly virus, a health agency said on Sunday.

>> Vietnam puts together 4 fast-response teams to confront MERS-CoV At 6:30 pm yesterday, the Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute confirmed that the sample taken from Nguyen Thi S., a woman from Thu Dau Mot Town in the southern province of Binh Duong, tested negative forthe Corona virus after she returned to Vietnam from a MERS-CoV-hit area with a high fever. S. had taken tours of Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from May 31 to June 4, and had a high fever there before flying back to Vietnam on June 5. As recommended by a health quarantine officer, she arrived at the Ho Chi Minh Hospital for Tropical Diseases for an examination after getting treatment at a private clinic while her fever remained, doctors said. Currently, S., with a high fever of 39 degrees Celsius, is being treated in isolation at the infirmary.

This is the first suspected MERS-CoV case that has been recorded in southern Vietnam so far, the institute said. S. rode a camel during her tour of the UAE, while previous research has found that camels carry MERS-CoV, the institute added.

Her case came amid worries that the deadly disease, which has spread to 26 countries, affecting nearly 1,200 people and killing almost 450 of them, may penetrate Vietnam through people coming to the Southeast Asian country from epidemic-hit countries and territories. Last Friday, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health set up four fast response teams to cope with the disease in four regions of the country. The ministry also requested that all border gates, including the international airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, tighten medical quarantine procedures to detect signs of the disease from international visitors, especially those from MERS-CoV-hit areas. The ministry has requested that South Korea be put on the list of nine countries from which people visiting Vietnam must fill out a health declaration form before gaining entry, under a rule applied since July 1, 2014, when the disease spread widely.

The nine countries include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen, Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iran. In total, 87 South Koreans have contracted the virus, and six people have died, CNN quoted official numbers on Monday. During a working trip to Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long emphasized that the virus could possibly penetrate Vietnam as there is a strong flow of people to the Southeast Asian country from South Korea, and vice versa. Dr. Tran Dac Phu, head of the ministry’s Health Preventive Department, noted that the incubation period of the disease is from two to 14 days, during which infected people will show no signs of infection.

The disease transmits from ill people to others through close contact, such as caring for or living with an infected person, and the mortality rate is as high as 40 percent, Dr. Phu warned.

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