Mers patient being treated in Royal Liverpool Hospital

Image source, PhE
Image caption,
Mers symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath

A patient is being treated for the potentially deadly virus Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers), Public Health England (PHE) said.

PHE would not confirm the person's gender but said it was just the fifth case of Mers occurring in England.

The patient is a resident of the Middle East, where they are believed to have contracted the infection.

They took themselves to hospital in Leeds before being transferred to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital.

The individual was admitted to the tropical and infectious diseases unit on Wednesday evening.

PHE said the patient travelled on Saudi Arabian Airlines flight (number SV123) from Jeddah to Manchester on 16 August.

A spokesman said only people considered at risk have been contacted by PHE.

Mers is a viral respiratory disease caused by a coronavirus (Mers-CoV) that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

Dr Jenny Harries, deputy medical director at PHE, said: "It is important to emphasise that although a case has been identified, the overall risk of disease transmission to the public is very low."

The symptoms of Mers, which is similar to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) virus, include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

The previous cases in England were diagnosed in 2012 and 2013.

PHE said two were imported from the Middle East and two were caused by "onward transmission" from one of the cases whilst in the UK.

According to the World Health Organization, there have been 2,229 confirmed cases of Mers in 27 countries since September 2012 and 791 associated deaths.

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