PUTRAJAYA - Those who were onboard Turkish Airlines flights TK93 and TK60 on the Jeddah-Istanbul-Kuala Lumpur route on March 29 have been advised to undergo a health screening following the death of a passenger from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
A 54-year-old man from Batu Pahat died on Sunday, three days after he was admitted to Hospital Sultanah Nora Ismail following a fever, bouts of coughing and breathing difficulties.
The incident was the first in Malaysia and the cause of death had been certified as Severe Pneumonia Secondary to MERS-CoV, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam disclosed yesterday.
"The victim had developed respiratory complaints after returning to Malaysia from performing the umrah in Mecca. The ministry is undertaking precautionary and control measures, including monitoring those who had close contact with the case," he told a press conference yesterday.
The victim is believed to have travelled with a small group of pilgrims, including his son, who is reported to be in good health.
The MERS-CoV was first detected in the Middle East in 2012 but researchers have yet to determine its cause or how it is spread.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recorded 238 such cases, with 92 deaths related to the MERS-CoV having been reported globally so far.
Dr Subramaniam urged travellers to the Middle East to maintain good hygiene, wear masks at high risk areas and not to visit animal farms. He said they should also not consume raw or unclean food and water.
He advised those who developed respiratory complications with a fever, cough, cold and throat infections to cover their mouth and nose, and promptly seek medical attention.
"At local hospitals, we have already taken steps to ensure that healthcare workers are protected. WHO has also been notified of the case in Malaysia so that international measures to address the disease can be taken," he added.