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Health Ministry warns travellers of MERS disease

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Arriving passengers line up during immigration checks in Phnom Penh. KT/Mai Vireak

The Health Ministry has warned Cambodians travelling to some Middle Eastern countries for religious purposes to be aware of a disease that has infected thousands of people.

Ly Sovann, ministry spokesman and Department of Communicable Diseases director, said on Friday that the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), an airborne disease, has caused 791 deaths since it was first discovered in 2012 in Saudi Arabia.

Mr Sovann noted that the countries include the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

People travelling to those countries who display symptoms of fever, coughs, shortness of breath and diarrhoea should return to Cambodia within 14 days, he said.

“If you have symptoms of chronic respiratory disease, you should delay your travels,” he said, adding that in order to reduce the risk of transmission, the ministry suggests avoiding consuming undercooked meat, raw vegetables or fruits.

“Avoid contacting livestock and wildlife, including touching sick or dead camels,” he added.

MERS was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and it has since spread to neighbouring countries.

The virus causes diseases ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

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