First Malaysian to die of MERS

PHOTO: First Malaysian to die of MERS

PUTRAJAYA - Malaysia has recorded its first death related to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), after a 54-year-old man from Johor contracted the MERS-CoV coronavirus while performing the umrah in Mecca.

The Health Ministry said the man, who returned to Malaysia from Jeddah on March 29, developed a fever and respiratory problems and was warded at the Sultanah Nora Ismail Hospital in Batu Pahat on April 10.

However, he died three days later after his condition worsened.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said investigations revealed that the man's death was due to Severe Pneumonia Secondary to MERS, adding that he had also suffered from diabetes, which may have increased the risk of being infected.

"It is the first reported MERS case in the ASEAN region, and also the first death. We have begun taking preventive action and control measures, including monitoring anyone who has come into close contact with the man upon his return, including hospital personnel and family members.

"We also request for those who had boarded Turkish Airlines flight TK93 and TK60 (Jeddah-Istanbul-Kuala Lumpur) on March 29, which the man was on, to report to the ministry so that we can check and monitor their health condition for signs of the virus," he said here, yesterday.

Dr Subramaniam said those returning to Malaysia from the Middle-East would be subjected to more stringent health checks at airports, but no travel restrictions would be imposed as yet.