A & E Unit in Manchester Closes After Patients Admitted with Mers Symptoms

July 28th, 2015
A & E Unit in Manchester Closes After Patients Admitted with Mers Symptoms

The Accident and Emergency unit at Manchester Royal Infirmary was closed for 2 hours yesterday (27th July) after two patients were admitted with symptoms of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, also known as Mers.

A spokesman for the hospital confirmed that two patients were undergoing tests. The patients were isolated and are receiving treatment for their symptoms. One has now been moved to North Manchester General. The A&E department has since reopened and doctors are awaiting the test results. The children’s emergency unit remained open for the duration of the day.

Mers is similar to Sars and causes respiratory problems such as shortness of breath, coughing and fever. In severe cases it can result in kidney failure and contribute to an increased risk of pneumonia. Mers is most commonly found in older men and tends to be more common in those who suffer with underlying health conditions. The virus can be spread through droplets released when coughing and sneezing.

The first fatal case of Mers was recorded in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. Cases were reported in 26 different countries and there were four cases in the UK, three of which proved fatal.

A spokesman for the hospital said the risk to the public was very low and it was standard infection control procedure to temporarily close the emergency department.

During the closure, patients who would ordinarily have been taken to MRI were diverted to the North Manchester General and other units in Salford and South Manchester.

BBC Health Correspondent Dominic Hughes said it was a big step for a large hospital to close its A&E department, but it was a measure enforced to protect members of the public and healthcare staff. The virus is not highly contagious, but there is a risk of it spreading from person to person and therefore it is vital that the hospital takes the necessary steps to prevent the spread of infection and protect patients and employees.

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