Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) update: Greece reports first case

On 18 April 2014, the Ministry of Health in Greece reported one laboratory-confirmed case of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

The patient is a 69-year-old male Greek citizen residing in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, who travelled back to Greece on 17 April. While in Jeddah, the patient consulted a hospital on 8 and 10 April for a febrile illness with diarrhoea. He was diagnosed with probable typhoid fever and treated. He had regularly visited his wife who was hospitalised from 31 March to 5 April in the same hospital for confirmed typhoid fever.

The patient sought medical care upon arrival in Greece on 17 April. The evaluation revealed a bilateral pneumonia and the diagnosis of MERS-CoV infection was made at the National Reference Laboratory for Influenza.

The patient is in stable condition and is receiving appropriate treatment.

This is the first case of MERS-CoV infection in Greece.

Individuals who had close contacts with the patient in the plane, the hospital in Greece and in the community have been identified and are being contacted. So far, none of the contacts has fallen ill.

Hellenic health authorities issued a press release to inform the population and informed all Greek hospitals on measures that need be taken to identify suspect patients and implement appropriate preventive measures.

Globally, from September 2012 to date WHO has been informed of a total of 250 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 93 deaths.

Based on the current situation and available information, WHO encourages all Member States to continue their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to carefully review any unusual pattern.

WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event nor does it currently recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions.