The MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) virus is an ailment of the respiratory system that was first detected in camels. How it got to be transferred to human beings remains unknown. The symptoms that show up in the infected include a high temperature, a hacking coughing and wheezing breath.
At least half of the victims die from the illness. The virus was detected for the first time in Saudi Arabia and it has spread to six other Middle Eastern nations. It is highly contagious and can be spread by contact from one person to the next.
So far no cases have been reported in the United States. The viral illness resembles the SARS virus which devastated Asia way back in 2003. MERS however began its savage attacks two years ago. It could be caught so easily that many medical personnel got infected by handling patients.
The original source of the virus appears to be camels, bats and other animals. But there is no surety about this either. Several precautions have been listed among the roster of guidelines meant to prevent any chances of contracting MERS. They include:
- washing the hands for 20 seconds,
- not coming into contact with an infected person,
- cleaning surfaces that could get dirty such as children’s toys and
- door handles and sneezing into a tissue paper and then throwing it away.
So far there is no cure for the disease. But efforts are underway to develop a vaccine in the same manner as the search for an AIDS vaccine. Since this is a viral illness, the treatment won’t be a simple affair.
The government of Saudi Arabia has reassured its people that the disease will go away once proper hygienic measures are implemented. Meanwhile, quarantine of patients is one methodology that might work.
MERS Virus Outbreak Raises Alarm in Middle East by WSJ_Live