BEIRUT: Randa Hamadeh, the head of the Public Health Ministry’s immunization program, told The Daily Star Monday that no cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus had been verified in Lebanon so far but that precautions were being taken.
Health Minister Wael Abu Faour last week told Lebanese citizens that there was no need to panic in the wake of news that MERS had spread to Egypt.
“Whenever there is a case coming from Saudi Arabia with fever, with symptoms like a rash, it might be considered a potential case and it would be investigated,” Hamadeh said.
Saudi Arabia’s health authorities announced Monday that the death toll in the kingdom had reached 115. There is no vaccine for MERS, which has a mortality rate of over 40 percent.
Program director of WHO Lebanon, Dr. Ziad Mansour, said screening was not being carried out at the country’s borders. “There’s not a very sure foundation at this stage to do any screening because it’s impossible to prevent importation,” he said. “The probable scenario is that you have someone coming from Saudi Arabia to Lebanon and then they show symptoms. We have been working with the of health minister and the director general to activate an early response system whereby [suspected cases] can be placed in primary isolation.”
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 06, 2014, on page 4.