No MERS cases known in Brunei

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THE Ministry of Health (MoH) has reported that there has been no case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the country.

In a statement, the ministry reminded members of the public to be fully vaccinated with the influenza vaccine, specifically for Haj and Umrah pilgrims at least two weeks before they travel to Mekah and Medina.

Some of the preventive measures that the ministry included in the press statement were: to practise good hygiene such as washing hands with soap and water after using the toilet, avoiding crowded public places such as markets, and contact with local animals such as farms when in infected countries. It advised observing the same measures when visiting camel farms, in contact with camels, and unpasteurised camel dairy products.

The ministry said in the statement released yesterday that South Korea has reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) that as of June 10th, 108 cases of MERS-CoV have been reported in the East Asian country while nine have succumbed to their deaths.

The statement noted that a total of 1,271 cases of MERS-CoV have been reported worldwide, affecting 25 countries with at least 453 deaths.

At this time, WHO have not recommended any restrictions on travel to the affected countries, however, the ministry is reminding the general public to take care of their personal hygiene as well as their surroundings while remaining vigilant in taking preventive measures to reduce the risk of infection.

The notice stated that some of the symptoms for MERS-CoV can resemble ordinary flu or cold such as having fever exceeding 30 degrees Celsius or higher, cough and shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing.

MERS-CoV infection is also more serious in those groups categorised as “high risk”, including the elderly, pregnant women, children and those with chronic conditions such as chronic lung conditions, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, cancer or those with lowered immune responses (immunodeficiency), the ministry said.

Currently, there is no specific treatment or vaccine for MERS-CoV, however, prospective Haj and Umrah pilgrims and those intending to travel to affected countries in the Middle East and Korea are advised to take precautionary and preventative measures.

The ministry will continue to monitor events and trends of the MERS-CoV disease and inform the public from time to time.

For more information, the public is advised to call the Healthline number at 145 or E-mail at

The Brunei Times