5Britons on the same flight as the infected passenger should call medics if they become unwell or experience breathing problems.
3:35pm UK, Saturday 03 May 2014
Authorities in the US and UK are trying to trace passengers who travelled on the same flight from London to Chicago as a man diagnosed with a potentially deadly Sars-like virus.
The American, who fell ill after flying to the US from Saudi Arabia where he was a healthcare worker, has Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (Mers-Cov).
The passenger had flown on a British Airways flight from Riyadh to Heathrow on April 24, before transferring to Chicago.
He fell ill on April 27 and went to a hospital in Indiana with a fever, cough and shortness of breath. He is currently in a good condition.
Public Health England (PHE) has contacted UK passengers on BA Flight 262 who were sitting near the affected passenger, but stressed the risk of infection was “extremely low”.
Britons on the flight who become unwell or experience respiratory problems have been urged to contact NHS 111.
PHE is also working with US authorities to trace any UK passengers on the onward flight – American Airlines Flight 99 from London to Chicago.
It is the first case of Mers-Cov in the US, after diagnosis was confirmed by the United States Centre for Disease Control in Indiana.
Doctor Thomas Briese, Associate Director of Columbia University’s Centre for Infection and Immunity, said the case “does not mean that any epidemic is on the horizon or that it will spread”.
Mers-Cov belongs to the coronavirus family that includes the common cold and severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), which killed 800 people in 2003.