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Hospitals to open examination rooms for MERS suspects

Update: June, 17/2015 - 17:37
An elderly woman walks past signage on MERS at Severance Hospital in Seoul. —  AFP/VNA Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — Hospitals have been asked to set up isolated rooms for examining patients suspected of having MERS infection or people coming from regions affected by the disease, said a health official.

The proposal was put forth by Head of the Medical Examination and Treatment Department Luong Ngoc Khue at a conference held in Ha Noi yesterday on preventive measures to contain the outbreak of MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) at hospitals.

He asked all hospitals to establish different health examination rooms to specifically treat patients coming with the symptoms of acute respiratory infections, such as cough and fever, and patients who have travelled to countries hit by MERS.

Patients coming from countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as South Korea will be monitored in those examination rooms within 14 days of their arrival in Viet Nam.

The main purpose of such an isolation method is to prevent suspected cases from coming in contact with patients having other diseases and spreading the disease, said Khue.

If doctors suspect any of the patients of having MERS infection, they will be put under temporary quarantine, while their test samples will be sent to the National Hygiene and Epidemiology in Ha Noi or the Pasteur Institute in HCM City for confirmed diagnosis.

The Department of Medical Examination and Treatment has set up a hot line (0984371919) where the public can give information on suspected MERS cases in Viet Nam. People can also report on the department's website

MERS is caused by a corona virus from the same family as the one that caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that killed 800 people worldwide in 2002-2003.

MERS was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and has since spread to other countries, with more than 1,000 infected cases and at least 400 casualties.

South Korea has seen the largest known outbreak outside the Arabian Peninsula, with 20 deaths and 154 confirmed cases since last month. — VNS

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