First Case of MERS Virus in Greece

flu virusDoctors in Greece on Friday confirmed the country’s first case of a deadly respiratory that has already claimed 93 lives around the world.

The Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) announced the first case in Greece of infection by the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in a Greek man who had recently returned from Saudi Arabia. The man is hospitalized in a special unit for respiratory diseases. His condition is stable.

The 69-year-old man, who is a permanent resident of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, returned to Greece on April 17. After suffering prolonged high fever, he was tested positive for MERS-Cov.

KEELPNO says there is no need for public alarm, as it has taken all necessary measures to track and monitor the patient’s contacts and to prevent the spread of the disease and to safeguard public health.

MERS-Coronavirus 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 Greek case is the 10th case of MERS-CoV infection in Europe, others having been diagnosed in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Germany. So far, the majority of patients infected with MERS-CoV have developed acute respiratory illness, fever, cough and shortness of breath.