|Eleven passengers plus airline staff will be tracked for exposure to the virus.|
It marks the first case of MERS in that country and the fifth European country to report laboratory confirmed infections with the corona virus. Previous cases have been reported in France, UK, Germany and Italy.
The European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) reports that the woman is 61 years old and was in generally good health with no underlying medical problems when she arrived in Medina, Saudi Arabia for the Hajj pilgrimage on October 2.
She had no contact with animals as she visited the Saudi cities of Medina until October 10 and then traveled to Mecca on October 11. She developed a cough and fever on Oct 15 and visited a hospital emergency room in Mecca two weeks later on Oct 28 and 29.
Chest x-rays were taken and she was diagnosed with pneumonia. According to Spanish Health Ministry officials, she refused to be hospitalized in Saudi Arabia and instead, was hospitalized in Madrid when she returned to Spain on November 1.
The ECDC reports she was ill on the flight home and required oxygen while aboard. Eleven passengers who were seated within two rows of the woman on the plane from Mecca to Madrid have been identified and will be monitored for exposure to the virus.
Health officials from Spain are also tracking 14 family members, 18 health care workers and 7 patients from the hospital in Madrid and airline staff who had close contact with her en-route from Saudi Arabia.
According to the latest MERS update from the World Health Organization, dated November 4, 2013, "WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event nor does it currently recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions."
The ECDC states that this imported case is the tenth in Europe and the thirteenth outside the Middle East, out of 151 confirmed cases including 64 deaths.
image from CNN: 6 Places Germs Breed in a Plane