Jumat, 8 Rabiul Awwal 1440 / 16 November 2018

Jumat, 8 Rabiul Awwal 1440 / 16 November 2018

Indonesia at risk of importing MERS-CoV disease

Kamis 08 Nov 2018 01:30 WIB

Red: Reiny Dwinanda

Minor hajj (umrah) pilgrims from Indonesia. (File photo)

Minor hajj (umrah) pilgrims from Indonesia. (File photo)

Foto: Dok Mi'raj Tour and Travel
MERS-CoV is a viral respiratory disease that first identified in Saudi Arabia.

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA -- Indonesia has a high risk of importing Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus (MERS-CoV) as it has the highest hajj and minor hajj pilgrims, an official of the Health Ministry said. MERS-CoV is a viral respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

"Indonesia sends 221 thousand of hajj pilgrims every year. Therefore, it has the highest risk of importing diseases such as MERS-CoV and cholera," the ministry's head of the Hajj Health Center Eka Jusup Singka stated on the sideline of the 5th Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) meeting here on Wednesday.

Current scientific evidence suggests that dromedary camels are a major reservoir host of MERS-CoV and an animal source of MERS infection in humans. Typical MERS symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath that may cause death. No vaccine or specific treatment is currently available for the disease.

Singka explained that the ministry has taken steps to prevent the spread of the viral infections to hajj pilgrims by conducting vaccination, including for meningitis, influenza, and pneumonia. The hajj pilgrims would once again have a health check upon their return to Indonesia, in order to prevent them from transmitting certain virus to the country.

"Alhamdulillah (thank God), there are no hajj pilgrims so far who have carried those infectious disease. But as a country, we have to be ready to prevent, detect, and respond," he added.

In addition to vaccination, he continued that hajj pilgrims would have to pass three medical checkups. They have also been advised to stay away from camels, wear masks, and wash their hands after taking part in public activities.

"Healthy lifestyle and activities are also important," he said, adding that 63-67 percent of Indonesian hajj pilgrims are high-risk pilgrims with heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and respiratory infection.

Vaccination is also required for minor hajj (umrah) pilgrims.

Sumber : Antara
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