Travel alert de­clared for Mid­dle East over MERS

The China Post - - LOCAL -

Trav­el­ers to the Mid­dle East should be on the alert as Mid­dle East Res­pi­ra­tory Syn­drome ( MERS) has been es­ca­lat­ing in that re­gion, the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol ( CDC) said Wed­nes­day.

The dis­ease is con­cen­trated mainly in Riyadh in Saudi Ara­bia, where around 100 MERS cases had been re­ported as of late July, the CDC said.

The risk of con­tract­ing MERS may in­crease due to a surge of visi­tors for the Hajj, a mass Is­lamic pil­grim­age in the Saudi Ara­bian city of Mecca that will take place Sept. 20 to 25, at­tract­ing over 3 mil­lion pil­grims from around the world, the CDC said.

Peo­ple vis­it­ing Saudi Ara­bia and other MERS hotspots, namely the United Arab Emi­rates, Jor­dan, Iran, Oman and Qatar, should ex­er­cise cau­tion, the agency said.

Ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, a to­tal of 1,461 con­firmed cases of MERS, in­clud­ing 514 deaths, were re­ported in 26 coun­tries be­tween Septem­ber, 2012 and Aug. 24, 2015.

Trav­el­ers are ad­vised not to visit farms and to avoid con­tact with camels and with peo­ple who show symp­toms of res­pi­ra­tory ill­ness, the CDC said.

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