A&E unit closed in Manchester following MERS outbreak

Sarah Spickernell
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The first Mers-related death occurred in September 2012 (Source: Getty)

The A&E unit of Manchester Royal Infirmary has been temporarily shut down following a possible outbreak of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

The hospital confirmed two patients were being tested for the illness. "Both patients have been isolated for ongoing clinical treatment and management of their condition," a spokesperson said.

They added that the emergency department of the hospital would be "closed until further notice while investigations take place". The suspected outbreak is considered by the hospital to pose "no significant risk" to public health.

Mers is characterised by severe sickness, with symptoms including fever, coughing, shortness of breath, vomiting and diarrhoea. In the most serious cases it causes respiratory failure and organ failure.

The main source of the disease is thought to be through contact with camels and camel products in the Middle East, although it is also spread via close contact with infected people.

Since May this year, around 1,000 cases of the disease have been reported globally. The virus kills 40 per cent of those it infects, and research is currently underway to find an effective treatment or vaccine.

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