|Oman reports first MERS infection. Image from Google Maps|
According to this article, the victim is a man who is in stable condition and suffering from a 'chest infection.' No other details have been released.
This marks the ninth country where the virus has been found. The others include Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Jordan, Tunisia, UK, Germany and France. So far, WHO has confirmed 144 cases of MERS with 64 fatalities, most occurring in the Saudi Kingdom.
In other MERS related announcements, the Saudi Minister of Health (MOH) reported three new MERS infections in that country.
The victims are two females aged 87 and 53, and a 63 year old man. All are reported to suffer from chronic medical conditions and all are in the ICU in Saudi hospitals. According to the Saudi Health Ministry website, the total infections in that country are currently at 124 with 52 deaths.
This report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at antibodies to the virus in Saudi men and children from the hard hit eastern province in 2012. Results suggest that exposure to the virus was not widespread in the population at that time.
The MERS corona virus is a cousin to SARS. Both viruses can lead to severe pneumonia-like symptoms but the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome can also cause diarrhea and kidney failure. It is also considerably more deadly with a mortality rate of nearly 50%.