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 spokesman for the Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust said: