BEIJING (REUTERS) - China said on Friday a South Korean man had tested positive for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers), China’s first confirmed case, but that it had not found any symptoms in the 38 people who had close contact with him.
Authorities in South Korea said earlier that the man had skipped out of voluntary home quarantine to take a trip to China.
The World Health Organization said on Friday 10 people in South Korea were confirmed as having Mers, but there has been no sustained human-to-human spread. The UN agency said that it was not recommending screening of passengers or that travel or trade restrictions be imposed on South Korea due to the outbreak.
China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission confirmed the man’s diagnosis after laboratory tests on Friday, the agency said in a statement on its website.
The patient, who is in isolation in hospital in the southern city of Huizhou, had a fever and a chest examination showed possible pneumonia, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said.
The health authorities said 38 people who had had close contact with the victim had not exhibited “unusual” symptoms.
The 44-year-old man, who is a son of another patient who was confirmed last week to have been infected in South Korea, had travelled to Huizhou after first arriving in Hong Kong on Tuesday, according to South Korean and Chinese authorities.
Two new victims are believed to have caught the virus from the first case confirmed last week, a 68-year-old man who had travelled to Bahrain in April and May, and returned to South Korea via Qatar.
First identified in humans in 2012, Mers is caused by a coronavirus from the same family as the one that triggered China’s deadly 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. There is no cure or vaccine.
Last week, South Korea’s Health Ministry said there were 1,142 cases of Mers in 23 countries and 465 deaths had been reported by May 16. Of the total, 1,117 were in the Middle East.