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Thailand Places 23 People in Quarantine after a Second Confirmed Case of MERS

Update Date: Jan 25, 2016 10:32 AM EST

Thailand has quarantined 23 people who might have been exposed to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) after they came into contact with an infected man. The director-general of the country's Disease Control Department, Amnuay Gajeena, added that eight more people were recently identified and will also be isolated.

"We're still doing an in-depth investigation, so we might be able to bring more people in," Gajeena said to Reuters.

The patient, a 71-year-old man from Oman, is the second person to be confirmed with MERS in Thailand. He had presented with a low fever, cough and rapid breathing, Amnuay stated. The Pubic Health Ministry added that the patient, who is being treated at an infectious disease center in the outskirts of Bangkok, is currently in stable condition, the New York Times reported.

Those who have been quarantined to prevent an outbreak include his son, hotel staff, taxi drivers and passengers from the different forms of transportation that the patient took.

The first case of MERS in Thailand was reported during the summer in a 75-year-old businessman. The man, who had also traveled from Oman, was hospitalized in June and released within weeks after he made a full recovery.

The two cases are not expected to affect the tourism industry, which contributes to about 10 percent of the country's GDP (gross domestic product).

"We think we have the situation under control," Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said to Reuters. "We're confident this will not affect tourism in Thailand."

According to the World Health Organization's (WHO) numbers, there have been 1,626 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS throughout the world. Since 2012, MERS has been confirmed in 26 countries with a total of 586 deaths from MERS.

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