The first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was confirmed in Thailand after 4 days, reported health ministry officials. The time lag increased the anticipation of further spread of the deadly virus in Asia.
A 75-year-old businessman from Oman was the first reported case. Thai Public Health Minister Rajata Rajatanavin said 59 people who had come into contact with the infected man were being monitored.
The man arrived in Bangkok for medical treatment for a heart ailment at a private hospital, Rajata said. After he was diagnosed with MERS, he was transferred to infectious diseases institute in Bangkok "It took about four days to diagnose this case and two lab tests," said Rajata.
The 59 people who had come in contact with the virus are being monitored including fellow passengers on the man's flight to Bangkok. Three of the 59 have been hospitalized while the rest have been told to stay at home for 14 days.
The Thai case will compound fears in Asia of a repeat of a 2002-2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which began in China and killed about 800 people globally.
Shares in Thai aviation companies and hotels dropped with hotel operator Central Plaza Hotel plunging 6.6 percent. Airports operator Airports of Thailand dropped 4.2 percent to a more than three-week low.