A Greek man who returned to Athens from the Persian Gulf tested negative Tuesday for the deadly respiratory disease MERS, which has killed dozens of patients in Saudi Arabia. The 70-year-old was being treated in a negative-pressure room at Sotiria Hospital in Athens.
According to authorities two other people who were diagnosed with MERS-like symptoms also tested negative to the virus. The only confirmed case of the deadly respiratory disease is a 69-year old Greek man, permanent resident of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, who returned to Greece on April 17 and has been in hospital since and is still in a critical condition. He is in a special negative-pressure isolation chamber for contagious respiratory diseases, while a spot at an intensive care unit is being made available, in case his condition deteriorates further. Doctors are using an experimental drug to deal with the patient’s condition.
MERS is a new member of the family of coronaviruses, and in 2012 was recognized as pathogenic for humans. Coronaviruses are responsible for ailments ranging in severity from the common cold through to SARS.
The one Greek case is the tenth case of MERS infection in Europe, others having been diagnosed in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Germany. So far, the majority of patients infected with MERS have developed acute respiratory illness, fever, cough and shortness of breath.