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  1. ITV Report

A man's been rushed to hospital in Liverpool with the killer MERS virus

Photo: PA

A man has been rushed to hospital in Liverpool with the killer MERS virus, health officials have confirmed.

Public Health England (PHE) said the man was initially admitted to hospital in Leeds and then transferred to an expert respiratory infectious disease centre at the Royal Liverpool Hospital.

The patient is believed to have contracted the infection in the Middle East, before flying to the UK.

PHE is now scrambling to contact passengers who were on the same plane as the patient, amid fears they may also be infected.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome known as MERS, kills a third of those it strikes and is named as one of 10 urgent threats to humanity by the World Health Organization.

MERS-CoV (the virus that causes MERS) can be spread when someone is in close contact with a patient for a sustained period of time. This means there is a very low risk to the general population of becoming ill.

While this is a serious infection for the individual, the risk of transmission to the general population from this case is very low.

As a precautionary measure, PHE experts are working closely with NHS colleagues to advise them on infection control measures and are contacting people who might have been in close contact with the individual to monitor their symptoms and provide health advice.

Typically MERS symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. This is the fifth case of MERS diagnosed in England, with previous cases diagnosed in 2012/2013.

Healthcare professionals are advised to remain vigilant for severe unexplained respiratory illness occurring in anyone who has recently travelled in to the UK from the Middle East.

Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Medical Director at Public Health England, said:

A patient in hospital in Liverpool is being treated for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (Mers-CoV) infection.

The patient is thought to have contracted the infection whilst in the Middle East before travelling to the UK.

Public Health England is following up those who have had close and sustained contact with the patient to offer advice and to monitor them as necessary.

It is important to emphasise that although a case has been identified, the overall risk of disease transmission to the public is very low.

As we’ve seen in previous cases, we have well established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with cases of imported infectious disease and these will be strictly followed to minimise the risk of transmission.

If people show symptoms of MERS after travelling to the Middle East, our advice remains unchanged and they should contact health services through the usual routes – by calling their GP or NHS 111.

– Dr Jenny Harries
  • A spokesman for the Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust said:

We are treating a patient who has Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The patient is being cared for on our specialist infectious and tropical diseases unit, by specialist and highly trained staff who are experienced in dealing with a variety of infectious diseases.

There is no risk to other patients or visitors.

We ask that people continue to use our services as normal and that people only come to our emergency department if their condition is serious and/or an emergency.”

– Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust