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MERS-CoV case passes through London

A suspected case of MERS-CoV has been detected on a flight through London, Public Health England (PHE) has been advised. 

Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) was confirmed in a person flying from Riyadh to Chicago and transiting through London on Thursday (24 April 2014). 

The passenger was hospitalised with suspected MERS-CoV in the USA after taking British Airways Flight 242. 

PHE said that although the risk of infection to other passengers is low, health information has been passed on to those who were sitting close to the affected passenger. 

The period between exposure and when symptoms might develop (the incubation period) for MERS-CoV is currently considered to be up to 14 days. 

Any illness that passengers might experience more than 14 days after the flight (i.e. starting on or after Friday 9 May 2014), would not be considered to be related.

There is presently no evidence of sustained person-to-person transmission of MERS-CoV, and the risk of contracting infection in the UK remains very low.

MERS-CoV is a new type of coronavirus, first identified in a Middle Eastern citizen in 2012. Although cases continue to be reported from the Middle East, no new cases of MERS-CoV have been detected in the UK since February 2013.

Professor Nick Phin, head of respiratory Diseases for PHE said: "The risk is very low and human to human transmission of MERS-CoV is extremely rare, but we would ask any passengers from British Airways Flight 262 on 24 April to contact NHS 111 if they're experiencing respiratory symptoms or have felt unwell since their flight."