First case of MERS respiratory disease reported in the Netherlands

The first case of the respiratory illness MERS has been recorded in the Netherlands, the public health institute RIVM said on Wednesday.

The patient became ill in Saudi Arabia after visiting Mecca and Medina. He was admitted to hospital in The Hague on May 10, where MERS was diagnosed.

The man is said to be stable and is being nursed in an isolation unit. Everyone who has been in contact with him since his return is being identified and monitored, the RIVM said in a statement.


The virus can spread from ill people to others through close contact, such as caring for or living with an infected person but is not thought to be highly contagious in a community setting.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory illness first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and is caused by a virus called MERS-CoV. Most people who have been confirmed to have MERS develop severe acute respiratory illness and about 30% die.

There has been a sharp rise in the number of reported cases over the past two months.