Active screening and surveillance in the United Kingdom for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in returning travellers and pilgrims from the Middle East: a prospective descriptive study for the period 2013-2015.

Atabani, Sowsan F, Wilson, Steven, Overton-Lewis, Clare, Workman, Judith, Kidd, I Michael, Petersen, Eskild, Zumla, Alimuddin, Smit, Erasmus and Osman, Husam (2016) Active screening and surveillance in the United Kingdom for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in returning travellers and pilgrims from the Middle East: a prospective descriptive study for the period 2013-2015. International journal of infectious diseases : IJID : official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases, 47. pp. 10-4. ISSN 1878-3511. This article is available to all HEFT staff and students via ASK Discovery tool http://tinyurl.com/z795c8c by using their HEFT Athens login IDs

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Official URL: http://www.ijidonline.com/article/S1201-9712(16)31...

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Over 25000 pilgrims from the UK visit Saudi Arabia every year for the Umrah and Hajj pilgrimages. The recent outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in South Korea and the continuing reports of MERS-CoV cases from Saudi Arabia highlight the need for active surveillance for MERS-CoV in returning pilgrims or travellers from the Middle East. Public Health England Birmingham Laboratory (PHEBL) is one of a few selected UK public health laboratories responsible for MERS-CoV screening in travellers returning to the UK from the Middle East who present to hospital with severe respiratory symptoms. The results of the PHEBL MERS-CoV screening and surveillance over the past 3 years is presented.

METHODS

UK travellers/pilgrims who returned from the Middle East and presented to a hospital with respiratory symptoms were studied over the period February 1, 2013 to December 31, 2015. Patients with respiratory symptoms, who satisfied the Public Health England MERS-CoV case algorithm, were tested for MERS-CoV and other respiratory tract viruses on admission to hospital.

RESULTS

Two hundred and two patients suspected of having MERS-CoV were tested. None of them had a laboratory-confirmed MERS-CoV infection. A viral aetiology was detected in half (50.3%) of the cases, with rhinoviruses, influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2), and influenza B being most frequent. Peak testing occurred following the annual Hajj season and in other periods of raised national awareness.

CONCLUSIONS

Respiratory tract infections in travellers/pilgrims returning to the UK from the Middle East are mainly due to rhinoviruses, influenza A, and influenza B. Whilst MERS-CoV was not detected in the 202 patients studied, heightened awareness of the possibility of MERS-CoV and continuous proactive surveillance are essential to rapidly identify cases of MERS-CoV and other seasonal respiratory tract viruses such as avian influenza, in patients presenting to hospital. Early identification and isolation may prevent outbreaks in nosocomial settings.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is available to all HEFT staff and students via ASK Discovery tool http://tinyurl.com/z795c8c by using their HEFT Athens login IDs
Subjects: QZ Pathology. Oncology
Divisions: Clinical Support > Pathology
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Depositing User: Preeti Puligari
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2017 16:05
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2017 16:05
URI: http://www.repository.uhblibrary.co.uk/id/eprint/1249

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