Malaysia reports first Asian death from Mers virus

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 April, 2014, 1:24am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 April, 2014, 1:24am


A Malaysian man who went on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia has become the first death in Asia from Middle East respiratory syndrome, while the Philippines has isolated a health worker who tested positive for the deadly coronavirus.

Malaysia's health ministry said the Muslim man returned to Malaysia on March 29 and developed a high fever and cough and had difficulty breathing more than a week later. The man, a 54-year-old from southern Johor state neighboring Singapore, died on Sunday in a hospital, it said yesterday.

The ministry urged all passengers travelling with the victim on Turkish Airlines on March 29 to report for health checks. It said it was also checking on people who have been in close contact with the man.

In the Philippines, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said the Filipino health worker had a positive blood test for the virus but showed no symptoms.

The man had personal contact with another Filipino hospital worker who died of the virus last week in the United Arab Emirates.

Blood test results were released in the UAE after he arrived in the Philippines, and authorities immediately informed the Philippine Embassy.

The man has been isolated and people who had contact with him were being traced and quarantined, Ona said. Officials were also tracing the plane passengers who were seated near the Filipino during the flight to Manila.