A sexagenarian Omani from the country’s northwest region is the first to test positive for the deadly Mers coronavirus.
Mohammad Bin Saif Al Hosni, Undersecretary for Health Affairs, made an official report on Tuesday evening.
The unnamed 61-year-old citizen first reported at the Adam health centre, about 200km northwest of Muscat, with fever on Saturday. He was shifted to Nizwa Hospital on Monday and on Tuesday the senior Omani citizen tested positive.
According to sources the patient with Mers has not left the country in recent times and investigations are on to determine how he contracted it.
Giving details of the case, the undersecretary said that the situation was under control and there was no need for panic. “The affected patient is undergoing treatment at a hospital and his condition is stable,” he added.
Al Hosni said that the patient contracted the disease after coming into contact with someone from outside Oman. “More details of the case will be known in a few days.”
Symptoms of Mers-CoV infection include renal failure and severe acute pneumonia, which often result in a fatal outcome. The first patient had a “seven-day history of fever, cough, expectoration and shortness of breath”.
Mers has an estimated incubation period of 12 days. Like Sars, Mers appears to cause a lung infection, with patients suffering from a temperature, cough and breathing difficulty. But it differs in that it also causes rapid kidney failure and the extremely high death rate has caused serious concern. The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (Mers-CoV) has so far claimed 62 lives worldwide, with the greatest number of deaths in Saudi Arabia where the disease first appeared in September 2012, according to the World Health Organisation.