More tests needed to rule out MERS for S.Korean man in Slovakia

Bratislava (AFP) – A South Korean man in isolation at a Slovakian hospital will undergo another round of tests to ensure he is not infected with the potentially fatal MERS virus, the hospital in Bratislava said Sunday.

“There were no positive indications. Out of four indicators, three were negative, and one borderline,” hospital spokeswoman Petra Stano Matasovska told AFP. “According to epidemiological rules, it is necessary to repeat the procedure.”

The 38-year-old South Korean arrived in Slovakia on June 3 and works for a subcontractor of Seoul carmaker Kia, which has a plant in the central European country. He was admitted to the emergency room Saturday with diarrhoea, fever and skin lesions.

“New blood samples will be sent to a specialised lab in Prague. We need to wait another 24 hours to definitively rule out contamination,” said Matasovska.

She added that the patient was staying in a special isolated unit and that his condition was “slightly better.”

The man did not appear to have had contact with patients or to have visited venues where infections were reported in South Korea, Seoul’s foreign ministry said Sunday.

There is no vaccine for MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), which has a mortality rate of 35 percent, according to the World Health Organization.

In South Korea 145 people have been infected, of which 15 died, after a 68-year-old man contracted the virus on a trip to Saudi Arabia in late May.

In Saudi Arabia, more than 950 people were infected and 412 died from the coronavirus.