Health Information Update

Source: WHO, Event Information Site for IHR National Focal

Event Updates: 08 January 2020

Event Updated Country Hazard Disease Event Description IHR Assess
2020- 01-08   











United Arab Emirates (the)
















Infectious Corona-virus Infection On 29 December 2019, the National IHR Focal Point of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reported one (1) laboratory-confirmed case of MERS-CoV to WHO. Public Health Risk
Details of the case/s:
The case is a 74-year-old male national, he is owner of a camel farm located in Al Ain City, Abu Dhabi region in UAE where he is also living. He developed fever, cough and sore throat on 8 December 2019 and was admitted to hospital on 10 December, then transferred to ICU on 16 December. A nasopharyngeal aspirate was collected and tested positive for MERS-CoV by RT-PCR (UpE and Orf1a genes) on 16 December by the Shiekh Khalifa Medical Center laboratory. He has underlying comorbidities including hyperkalemia, diabetes mellitus with diabetic nephropathy, heart disease, asthma and hypertension. He has a history of close contact with dromedary camels and sheep at his farm in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms. He has no history of recent travel and has not been involved in slaughtering animals. Currently, the patient is in stable condition in intensive care unit isolation.
Risk Assessment:
The reported case had no travel history outside of UAE and it is believed the infection was locally acquired; however, the risk of international spread of MERS-CoV from the Middle East exists. To date, the exportation of cases from affected regions in the Middle East has resulted in limited human-to-human transmission among close contacts, in most cases. The risk of further spread can be minimized through the implementation of rapid identification, isolation, appropriate infection prevention and control measures, and comprehensive contact tracing. 

Since 2012, UAE has reported 89 cases of MERS-CoV (including this case) and 12 associated deaths. At a global level, From 2012 until 29 December 2019, the total number of laboratory-confirmed MERS-CoV infection cases reported globally to WHO is  2494 with 858 associated deaths. The global number reflects the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases reported to WHO under IHR to date. The total number of deaths includes the deaths that WHO is aware of to date through follow-up with affected member states.

WHO advice/recommendations:
WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event 


 Interference with International travel or trade:


*A public health risk is something that is (or is likely to be) hazardous to human health or could contribute to a disease or an infectious condition in humans.