Muscat: With Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases being reported in the neighbouring countries, the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Oman is constantly monitoring for cases through its epidemiological surveillance system.
A MoH official confirmed that no new cases of MERS-CoV have been reported in Oman this year. It may be recalled the coronavirus had claimed two lives in 2013.
Stressing that the MoH in the Sultanate remains alert, he said, "We have developed a strategy to combat the infection. We have made guidelines related to diagnosis, infection control-procedure, follow-up of patients (suspected carriers) and have high-tech facility to test the samples of potential patients. We have also established and strengthened procedures to control infection in several health institutions," said the source.
He added that the MoH has provided 'sufficient medical supplies at the level of health institutions to ensure readiness.' The official added that the ministry is educating its health staff through lectures and continuous trainings to adopt the best practice if faced with a case. The ministry also provides informative posters and advices follow-up for suspected patients.
"The ministry's epidemiological surveillance system, which monitors cases of respiratory diseases in hospitals throughout the year continues to effectively follow-up cases of infectious diseases in the Sultanate, and in particular, acute respiratory tract diseases," the source said.
He added that the surveillance system is evaluated periodically to ensure knowledge efficiently and effectively. "The ministry's central laboratories are efficient in the diagnosis of infectious diseases, and they have not registered any new case of MERS," the official said.
The MoH official categorically said that as per the WHO, application of travel or trade restrictions, or entry screening is not recommended. According to WHO, the countries will test returning travellers with a clinical presentation that suggests the diagnosis of MERS-CoV, and will implement infection prevention and control measures.
To avoid infection, the MoH advices hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene (covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing), washing hands after contact with respiratory secretions, and keeping a distance of one metre from a person suffering from acute febrile respiratory symptoms. He also advised practices such as adhering to good food-safety practices such as avoiding undercooked meat or food prepared under unsanitary conditions.
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