Information for GPs on MERS coronavirus

Important information for GPs on how to manage suspected MERS coronavirus cases.

Page last updated: 08 July 2019

Evaluation of patients with possible Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in general practice in Australia (PDF 175 KB)

Evaluation of patients with possible Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in general practice in Australia (Word 70 KB)


Countries with laboratory-confirmed MERS cases

Information on how to manage a suspected MERS case in a hospital setting

General information about MERS and travel advice


How to manage a suspected MERS case in General Practice

Isolate

Infection control recommendations for suspected cases aim to provide the highest level of protection for health care workers, given the current state of knowledge. In patients with compatible symptoms and exposure history, GPs should follow standard and transmission based precautions (contact, droplet and airborne) for infection control, to minimise the risk of spread of MERS. The recommendations include:

  • Keep patient in a single room with the door closed
  • Contact precautions, including careful attention to hand hygiene
  • Encourage patient to use respiratory etiquette
  • Ask patient to wear a mask
  • Use personal protective equipment, including a P2 mask/respirator, gloves and eye protection
  • Single use equipment wherever possible
  • Clean areas where the patient has been after they have left.

The Royal Australasian College of General practitioners (RACGP) provides infection control standards for office-based practice, available from the RACGP website.

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Inform

If transferring a patient to the emergency department, please ensure your phone call and letter of referral includes details of relevant travel history, or known exposure to confirmed or probable cases and include details of any relevant treatments or investigations undertaken for the patient. Ensure the ambulance personnel are informed so appropriate PPE can be used.

Please also remember to inform your local public health unit / communicable disease control branch about the case urgently.

Testing for MERS

It should not be necessary to collect diagnostic specimens in a general practice setting as this is best done as part of a comprehensive follow up plan and with ready access to appropriate PPE and reference laboratory facilities. Patients should be referred to a hospital for investigation and management.

Reporting

The relevant state/territory public health unit/communicable diseases branch must be notified urgently of any suspected (and probable or confirmed) cases in order to discuss patient testing and/or referral and coordinate management of contacts.

Confirmed and probable cases must be reported to state/territory public health authorities immediately on being classified as such. State and territory authorities should notify the Commonwealth Department of Health which is responsible for reporting to WHO (under International Health Regulations 2005).

Advice for contacts of cases

Contacts of cases should be directed to your state/territory communicable disease branch/centre for advice.

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State and Territory Communicable disease branch/centres

Contact your state/territory communicable disease branch/centre.

Further information