As the first US case of the MERS virus has been confirmed in a man who flew from Saudi Arabia to Chicago via the UK, health officials sought to advise Britons who may have traveled on the same flight as the affected passenger.
The man, a healthcare worker, traveled via a British Airways flight on April 24 from Riyadh to London, where he changed flights at Heathrow airport to fly to the US.
He landed in Chicago and took a bus to Indiana, before experiencing respiratory symptoms a few days later.
The risk is very low and human to human transmission of MERS-CoV is extremely rare, but we would ask any passengers from British Airways Flight 262 on 24 April to contact NHS 111 if they’re experiencing respiratory symptoms or have felt unwell since their flight.
– Professor Nick Phin, Head of Respiratory Diseases for Public Health England
Health officials are in the process of contacting British airline passengers who may have made contact with a passenger who has been hospitalised in the US with the often fatal MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome).
The man, a non-British national, took a British Airways flight 262 on April 24 from Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, to London, where he changed flights at Heathrow to fly to the US.
Public Health England said it has contacted UK passengers on the BA flight to London who were sitting in the vicinity of the affected passenger and is working with US health authorities to contact any British passengers on the April 24 onward flight to Chicago, American Airlines Flight 99.
It said that the risk of the infection being passed to other passengers "is extremely low" but was contacting the passengers "as a precautionary measure."
Any UK based passengers on Flight 262 on April 24 who have since become unwell or experienced respiratory symptoms, such as shortness of breath, are advised to contact NHS 111.