Mon, Jun 08, 2015 - Page 1 News List

MERS seminar held for Taiwan health workers

CAMEL CONTACT?Health workers were primed on what to look out for in potential MERS infections, and guided on proper quarantine procedures

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Hundreds of frontline medical personnel yesterday participated in a Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) seminar as South Korea announced 14 new MERS cases and one more death.

The seminar at National Taiwan University’s College of Medicine was jointly held by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Infection Control Society of Taiwan and the Infectious Diseases Society of Taiwan.

Taipei Veterans General Hospital’s infection control specialists instructed participants on how to handle suspected MERS patients when encountering them in outpatient clinics, emergency units or at registration counters.

“The priority of front-line medical staff when dealing with a suspected case with a travel history to [South] Korea or countries in the Middle East, or who have had contact with camels or MERS-affected people, is to separate them from other patients and initiate quarantine procedures,” the experts said, addressing an audience of about 250.

Disease control professionals from the CDC and Chang Gung Memorial Hospital provided information about recognizing MERS symptoms and the testing method for detecting the MERS coronavirus.

CDC Research and Diagnostic Center Director Wu Ho-sheng (吳和生) said that if a MERS case occurred in the nation, the CDC would announce it only after the suspected case is confirmed via two positive results from polymerase chain reaction testing and the sequencing of the viral genome confirms the infection is MERS.

“The entire process takes about three days... Over the past month, the CDC has received reports of 20 potential cases of MERS infection. Though none of them fit all three of the required criteria — fever, pneumonia and travel history — we subjected them to meticulous screening to be sure,” Wu said, adding that all potential victims tested negative for the virus.

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