BATU PAHAT: Sixty-four villagers from Kampung Bintang here have been quarantined for a week after showing symptoms of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
Johor Health and Environment executive committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said those infected by the virus, which killed a 54-year-old man on Sunday, had been instructed to stay at home to prevent its spread.
“Mucus samples taken from villagers will be analysed at the laboratory to see if they have indeed been infected by the virus,” he said after visiting the screening centre yesterday where about 100 villagers underwent screening.
The centre was set up in the village on Monday.
The deceased, who succumbed to the infection upon returning from Mecca, was from the village.
Ayub said 1,000 residents in the village had undergone screening.
He urged friends and family members who visited the deceased’s home or attended his funeral to go for testing as well.
The deceased returned to Malaysia on March 29 after performing his umrah.
He was admitted to the Hospital Sultanah Nora Ismail for three days following complaints of fever, cough and breathing difficulties and died on Sunday.
Ayub said they were in the midst of identifying and contacting the 18 passengers on the Turkish Airlines flights that the deceased had travelled with on the same trip.
“So far, we have traced and screened six of them. Two, who are from Johor Baru, showed symptoms.
“Two others who are staying in the Johor Baru district and two more from Kluang are confirmed to be healthy,” he said.
He said the Health Department had urged the public to go for screening if they were suffering from cough, flu, sore throat or breathing difficulties.
The MERS-CoV was first detected in the Middle East in 2012, but researchers have yet to determine its cause.
The World Health Organisation has recorded 238 cases of the disease and 92 deaths related to the MERS-CoV globally to date.