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UPDATED: June 3, 2015
China's Health Department Steps up Precaution against MERS

The National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) on Tuesday issued a manual on Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) for health departments and hospitals.

It contains a detailed introduction on the epidemiological history of the disease, its symptoms, laboratory testing, preventative measures, and treatment and care, according to the NHFPC statement.

Control measures at hospitals will be heightened and patients complaining of fever will be screened, the statement said.

The NHFPC promised to keep the public well informed and give timely warnings.

China reported its first MERS patient on Friday in Guangdong Province, south China, who is a man from the Republic of Korea (ROK). The hospital that is treating him told Xinhua Monday that his condition appears to be worsening.

Guangdong health department estimates that 77 people have been in close contact with the patient. Among them, 67 have been quarantined while ten bus passengers had yet to be found as of Monday.

None of those in quarantine are showing any symptoms of MERS.

MERS is a respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus, similar to SARS. The first human case emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012. It has a fatality rate of about 40 percent.

According to the NHFPC manual, person-to-person transmission of MERS is limited.

However, there is no effective antiviral treatment for MERS and medical care just focuses on alleviating the symptoms.

(Xinhua News Agency June 2, 2015)

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