Traveler From Guangzhou Shows MERS Symptoms

By Jocelyn Richards, May 3, 2016

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A man traveling from Guangzhou to Hong Kong by train on Monday showed symptoms of the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), according to MTR Corporation. He is now under isolation and screening results are expected later this afternoon.

UPDATE (May 3, 2016 at 6pm CST): The man tested negative for MERS, according to the South China Morning Post.

The man, who had traveled to Middle Eastern countries before entering China, showed suspicious symptoms upon arriving to Hung Hom around 12.30pm. The station immediately arranged for the cleaning and disinfection of public areas, including all restrooms and the traveler’s seat on the train.

Last month, the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection received four suspected cases of MERS, but all of them tested negative.

A viral respiratory illness that was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, MERS is generally accompanied by a fever, cough and shortness of breath. Many of those infected have died.

Earlier this April, Saudi Arabia saw a reemergence of the illness, reporting 10 cases between April 1 and 15. The World Health Organization has reviewed each case, linking four to contact with camels or consumption of raw camel milk, and three to possible healthcare exposure in different facilities. 

The illness is believed to be transmitted from an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as coughing, yet much is still unknown about how the virus spreads.

Those traveling to Saudi Arabia in the next few weeks are advised to take precautions against MERS and limit close contact with other travelers.

READ MORE: Weddings are a lot less fun when everybody's terrified of a pandemic (MERS news round-up)

[Image via NBC News]

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