Via The Jakarta Post, a May 12 report: MERS infections may occur as RI citizens go on ‘umrah’. Excerpt:
A hospital official has predicted a rise in the number of people suspected of contracting the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the near future as many are still going to Saudi Arabia for umrah (minor pilgrimage).
“I don’t know when it [MERS-CoV] will end. These [people] are still going for umrah. And it will continue with the haj pilgrimage,” Head of the Lung Department of Adam Malik Hospital in Medan, Luhur Soeroso said on Sunday.
Besides the continuing umrah travel, Luhur said his prediction on the possible rise in suspected MERS cases was related to the latest developments in hospitals across the country.
“Almost every day, patients, suspected of contracting MERS, are transferred to Adam Malik hospital,” he added.
As of Sunday, the hospital has treated eight suspected MERS patients from various regions in North Sumatra.
A new patient, identified as M, 26, was admitted to the hospital on Saturday at about 11 p.m. after seeking medical treatment at a clinic. The Medan resident who had just arrived in the city earlier that day from Saudi Arabia, had a severe cough and high fever. The hospital spokesperson Sairi Saragih said four of the eight suspected MERS patients had been discharged after either being declared negative or found to have been sick with ordinary influenza.
“[A patient] SHN is the only suspected-MERS case who has been discharged because the laboratory test results were negative while the remaining three patients just suffered ordinary influenza and went home without further treatment,” Sairi said.
Sairi disclosed the four patients who were currently being treated in the hospital were identified only as AP, 63, a Belawan resident, MA, 71, from Medan, SPJ, 55, from Serdang Bedagai regency and M, 26, from Medan.
Doctors in the hospital, she went on, had taken samples of nasal and throat swabs of the suspected MERS patients and sent them to the Health Ministry’s laboratory in Jakarta.
“We are still waiting for the lab results. If they are negative, they can go home,” she added.