MERS virus now hits Egypt after Saudi Arabia. Egypt's Ministry of Health announced on Saturday that a 27 years old patient is being treated for pneumonia at a Cairo hospital. He is an Egyptian citizen who belongs to Nile Delta. But he was living in Saudi capital Riyadh for some time. He has just recently returned to Egypt with MERS virus.
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.
Although camels are suspected to be primary source of #MERS infection for humans, exact routes of direct/indirect exposure remain unknown— WHO (@WHO) April 26, 2014
According to a recent report from WHO, "Since April 2012, 254 laboratory‐confirmed cases of human infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS‐CoV) have been reported to WHO, including 93 deaths. To date, reporting countries in the Middle East include Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE); in Europe: France, Germany, Greece, Italy and the United Kingdom (UK); in North Africa: Tunisia; and in Asia: Malaysia and the Philippines."
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.
MERS virus hits Saudi Arabia strongly. According to Reuters, 26 more cases of MERS virus are being confirmed in Saudi Arabia while 10 more people have died from the disease. MERS virus was discovered in the country 2 years ago. 339 confirmed cases of MERS have been reported till now. Out of these 339, 103 sufferers of MERS virus have died.
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.
It is important that health‐care workers apply standard precautions consistently w/ all patients – regardless of their diagnosis #MERS— WHO (@WHO) April 26, 2014
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.
When visiting a farm or a barn, wash hands regularly before and after touching animals, avoid contact w/ sick animals #MERS— WHO (@WHO) April 26, 2014
A spokesman for the World Health Organization in Geneva told Reuters, "it was "concerned" about the rising MERS numbers in Saudi Arabia urging for a speedy scientific breakthrough about the virus and its route of infection."
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.
That is why, "Saudi authorities have invited five leading international vaccine makers to collaborate with them in developing a MERS vaccine, but virology experts argue that this makes little sense in public health terms."
However, 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.
As much as 75% of recently reported #MERS cases considered to have acquired the infection from another infected person— WHO (@WHO) April 26, 2014
It is very likely #MERS cases will continue to be exported to other countries, through tourists, travellers, guestworkers or pilgrims— WHO (@WHO) April 26, 2014