Thai authorities took 4 days to confirm the country’s first case of MERS, the health ministry declared on Friday.
A 75-year-old businessman from Oman, is the confirmed first case of MERS on Thursday in Thailand, as the South Korean outbreak that began last month infecting 166 people and killing 24 of them, seems to be leveling off.
Rajata Rajatanavin, the Thai Public Health Minister said 59 people who came in contact with the infected man are presently being monitored.
Rajata said, the MERS patient arrived in Bangkok on Monday for medical treatment of a heart condition at a private hospital, declining to identify the hospital saying the patient was transferred to the infectious diseases institute in Bangkok on Thursday and presently quarantined.
“It took about four days to diagnose this case and two lab tests,” Rajata told Reuter in an interview.
The 59 people being watched included fellow passengers on flights to Bangkok, Rajata said. With 3 fellow passengers of the man were hospitalized while the rest were told to stay at home for 14 days.
The Thai case will increase terror for a repeat of the 2002-2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which started in China, killing about 800 people globally.
MERS first infected humans in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and most of the cases have been in the Middle East.
Although isolated cases have cropped up in Asia before the outbreak in South Korea which began last month. Thailand is the 4th Asian nation to register a case.
Surachat Satitniramai, the acting permanent secretary of the health ministry said that Thailand was using similar drills as those employed for an outbreak of the H1N1 avian flu virus in 2009 to prepare for a probable MERS outbreak.
Information posters were being disseminated at the hospitals and air passengers from countries at risk are being screened.