Czech tour guide hospitalised with suspected MERS

Photo: Reuters

PRAGUE - A Czech tour guide has been hospitalised in Prague, suspected of having the potentially fatal MERS virus, the health minister said Friday.

"He spent about a week in South Korea and returned to the Czech Republic on May 29," Svatopluk Nemecek told public Czech Television.

"On Thursday he went on a coach trip as a guide and got sick," Nemecek said, adding that the man was taken to a specialised Prague hospital with a fever after a medical check.

He said the results of lab tests on the patient would be available at about 1400 GMT on Friday.

In its latest outbreak, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome has killed 33 people of 184 diagnosed with the virus in South Korea.

In Europe, the virus killed a 65-year-old German man in June who contracted MERS during a trip to Abu Dhabi.

Nemecek added that about 30 people who were on the bus with the guide were put in quarantine.

Globally, some 1,300 people have been infected with MERS - mostly in Saudi Arabia - and more than 400 have died since the virus first emerged in 2012, having spread to 26 countries.

MERS is considered a deadlier cousin of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which appeared in 2003 and killed more than 800 people around the world.