Severe respiratory disease associated with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus - 12th update, 16 October 2014

Risk assessment
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European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Severe respiratory disease associated with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – 16 October 2014. Stockholm: ECDC; 2014

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The risk to the EU posed by the outbreak of MERS-CoV remains low. The latest importation to the EU is not unexpected and does not indicate a significant change in the epidemiology of the disease.

Executive summary

On 30 September 2014, the Austrian Department of Health reported a laboratory confirmed MERS-CoV case with a recent travel history to Saudi Arabia [1]. According to Austrian authorities, the 29-year-old female citizen of Saudi Arabia travelled by car from Riyadh to Affif in Saudi Arabia on 22 September from where she flew to Vienna, Austria via Doha in Qatar. She was symptomatic with an upper respiratory infection and fever prior to arrival in Austria. The patient sought medical care in Austria on 24 September and was admitted to a private hospital on 26 September from where she was transferred to the isolation ward of the reference hospital for highly infectious diseases in Vienna on 28 September 2014 [2]. The patient is currently in a stable condition.

The MERS-CoV infection was laboratory confirmed on 29 September 2014. The patient has no history of exposure to camels or their products; no prior hospitalisation and no contact to a known MERS-CoV case or any sick person. 

The case was symptomatic and assumed infectious prior to and during the flight to Austria. Therefore passengers and crew on the same flight with the MERS-CoV patient are being followed-up and personal data on the passengers and crew have been communicated to Qatar and Saudi Arabia [1]. Contacts of the patient have been identified and informed about the disease and are being followed-up by the Austrian health authorities. According to the Ministry of Health of Austria, close contacts showing upper respiratory symptoms have been tested for MERS-CoV. The laboratory analyses were negative for all the contact persons tested [2].