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WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus/SARS/MERS

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Author Topic: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus/SARS/MERS  (Read 1361 times)
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« Reply #30 on: July 08, 2013, 07:02:33 am »

Saudi Arabia: 2 more deaths from new virus

Saudi Arabia says two more people have died from a new respiratory virus related to SARS, bringing to 38 the number of deadly cases in the kingdom at the center of the growing outbreak.

The Saudi Health Ministry said the two died Saturday and that tests on 77 suspected cases yielded only three positive cases, two of them in Riyadh.

The new virus is related to SARS, which killed some 800 people in a global outbreak in 2003. It belongs to a family of viruses that most often cause the common cold.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/ML_SAUDI_VIRUS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-07-07-04-29-19
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« Reply #31 on: July 15, 2013, 07:37:54 am »

MERS Virus Makes Hajj Unsafe For Many Pilgrims, Saudi Arabia Warns


A deadly virus spreading through Saudi Arabia may force thousands of Muslims to cancel their pilgrimage to Mecca this year after Saudi officials urged the young, elderly and unwell to forgo hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a journey that all Muslims are expected to carry out in their lifetime.

Health Ministry officials hope that by limiting those most prone to contracting Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS coronavirus, they can curb the spread of the new disease.
 
Hajj placed 1.75 million foreign pilgrims in contact with 1.4 million Saudi pilgrims last year, and even bigger numbers are expected this coming October. Meanwhile, at least 2 million other religious travelers could visit Saudi Arabia over Ramadan, which began last week. Health officials fear that such contact could prove a deadly mix for a disease that has been, thus far, largely contained within the kingdom.
 
The SARS-like coronavirus has already killed 38 people in Saudi Arabia and 45 worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, or WHO, which said it had been informed of a total of 81 laboratory-confirmed cases since September 2012, including a Qatari patient who died in a UK hospital on June 28.

The UN agency said, in its latest update, that it did not currently recommend any outright travel or trade restrictions, but it did put pressure on Saudi Arabia after emergency meetings on MERS last week.
 
“I think we’re always worried in a globalized world that infection can travel quickly from one country to another,” Dr. Keiji Fukuda, WHO assistant director general for health security, said at a press conference earlier this month. “We see that with the evidence of some of the infections in Europe being related to travel to the Middle East. But, you know, when we look at the overall situation, it’s not just the worry about that that we have to take into consideration.”
 
Scientists have little understanding of how MERS spreads or why it appeared in the first place. Nevertheless, the Saudi Health Ministry set up a medical surveillance system at every border outlet in the kingdom earlier this month to screen visitors and look for “any person showing any symptom of the virus as defined by WHO.”
 
The ministry also issued a set of regulations Friday for potential visitors, including a recommendation to postpone travel “for the elderly and those suffering chronic illnesses, like heart, kidney, respiratory disease and diabetes.” Pregnant women and children were also warned to stay away.
 
A statement, posted on the Health Ministry’s website, offered “health awareness guidelines” such as washing hands and limiting direct contact with infectious people. The guidelines also mandate facemasks in overcrowded places like Mecca, and valid certificates of vaccination against meningitis and polio for pilgrims from specified countries.
 
Though largely centered in Saudi Arabia, doctors have identified MERS cases in Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Italy, the UK and Tunisia -- many of which involved patients who either traveled to or were in contact with people in Saudi Arabia.
 
“Travelers to the Middle East who develop symptoms either during travel or after their return are encouraged to seek medical attention and to share their history of travel,” WHO said in its advice for travelers. “People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands) and to delay travel until they are no longer symptomatic.”
 
MERS primarily affects the elderly, children under the age of 15 and those with pre-existing conditions. Like SARS, which killed 775 people and sickened 8,000 others nearly a decade ago, the coronavirus wreaks havoc on the respiratory system. Patients generally suffer from fevers, coughing and shortness of breath, though symptoms vary.
 
"The clinical syndrome is similar to SARS, with an initial phase of nonspecific fever and mild, nonproductive cough, which may last for several days before progressing to pneumonia," a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last month noted. Unlike SARS, however, MERS also causes rapid kidney failure, and more than half of those known to have caught it have died.

http://www.ibtimes.com/mers-virus-makes-hajj-unsafe-many-pilgrims-saudi-arabia-warns-1345063#
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« Reply #32 on: September 09, 2013, 07:49:16 am »

Saudi Arabia: 1 more death from new virus

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Saudi Arabia says one more man has died from a new respiratory virus related to SARS, bringing to 45 the number of deadly cases in the kingdom at the center of the outbreak.


http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2013-09-08/saudi-arabia-1-more-death-from-new-virus
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« Reply #33 on: November 20, 2013, 08:27:48 am »

Man dies of MERS coronavirus in Qatar

A man in Qatar has died from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS), becoming the third recorded fatality from the virus in the Persian Gulf state, health officials said.   

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/11/20/335628/man-dies-of-mers-coronavirus-in-qatar/
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« Reply #34 on: April 14, 2014, 06:27:24 am »

Deadly Virus's Spread Raises Alarms in Mideast

Saudi Arabia on Sunday confirmed a surge of cases of a deadly virus in the kingdom over the past two weeks, even as it tried to counter criticism that it wasn't doing enough to contain the outbreak. The United Arab Emirates over the weekend separately announced six confirmed cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, among paramedics there, one of whom died of the illness.   

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303887804579499831393801054
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« Reply #35 on: April 22, 2014, 04:59:27 am »

MERS death toll hits 81 in Saudi

The MERS death toll has climbed to 81 in Saudi Arabia, which sacked its health minister as cases of infection by the coronavirus mount in the country.

A 73-year-old Saudi who suffered from chronic illnesses died in Riyadh and a compatriot diagnosed with the virus, aged 54, died in the port city of Jeddah, the health ministry said late Monday.

The ministry said it has registered 261 cases of infection across the kingdom since the discovery of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in September 2012.

The World Health Organisation said on April 17 that it has been informed of 243 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS worldwide, including 93 deaths.

Saudi Arabia on Monday dismissed its health minister, Abdullah al-Rabiah, without any explanation.

Rabiah last week visited hospitals in Jeddah to calm a public hit by panic over the spread of the virus among medical staff that triggered the temporary closure of a hospital emergency room.

MERS was initially concentrated in eastern Saudi Arabia but now affects other areas.

The virus is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus that erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died.

Experts are still struggling to understand MERS, for which there is no known vaccine.

A recent study said the virus has been "extraordinarily common" in camels for at least 20 years, and it may have been passed directly from the animals to humans.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/99551.aspx
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« Reply #36 on: April 22, 2014, 05:17:53 am »

MERS Cases Appear Throughout Middle East – Is World Facing a New Epidemic?

Seven new instances of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) have been confirmed in Saudi Arabia.  In the last five days, up to 36 cases have been reported of the disease, which kills more than 33 percent of its victims and has no cure.  The Health Ministry of Saudi Arabia has posted updated numbers on its website of the disease’s impact, reporting that 76 of the 231 people infected with MERS in the kingdom have died.  MERS is a novel coronavirus much like SARS that first appeared two years ago in Saudi Arabia.  Although there is no anti-viral agent or vaccine for MERS, which sickens its victims mainly with respiratory infections, health agencies worldwide and in Saudi Arabia state that the virus is not easily passed between humans and could simply die out.  Warnings have been issued regarding the potential of the disease to mutate into other forms, leading those in the Middle East and around the world wondering if they are facing a new epidemic.

The official count of MERS victims could be lower than the actual.  Because of various rumors of additional, unreported cases in social media during the past few weeks, Saudi Arabia’s cabinet requested that Saudi news outlets only report on cases that have been officially confirmed by the kingdom’s Health Ministry.  Thirty new cases have been reported in Jeddah.  Of the 30 people infected, seven have died.  The capital city, Riyadh, has reported six new cases.  One of those has died.

In addition to Saudi Arabia, the latest outbreak of MERS has shown up in the United Arab Emirates, which identified 12 new cases while examining those people who have had contact with infected individuals, and in Yemen, which borders Saudi Arabia.  Yemen’s case of MERS is its first.  Officials in the United Arab Emirates expect that the infected individuals will be cured in 10 to 14 days without any sort of treatment after being confined in hospitals.  Health authorities in Malaysia have also reported that one of its citizens brought the disease back to the country after having made a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. In addition, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Tunisia have reported cases of MERS in addition to several European countries. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is known as the birthplace of the Islam religion and is expecting an influx of pilgrims during Ramadan in July, an annual month of fasting for Islams.  In addition, early October will draw millions more pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for the Haj.

In light of the news that there has been a marked increase in the number of confirmed cases of MERS in Saudi Arabia during the past two weeks, officials of the country have issued several statements meant to reassure the people that there is no reason to worry about the outbreak.  Officials also point out that the number of cases confirmed does not meet the international definition of an epidemic.  Authorities also stated on Sunday that experts from other nations, including the United States, and the World Health Organization are heading to the kingdom in order to aid the government in the search for a cure for the disease, which scientists believe has been common in camels for at least 20 years and could have passed to humans through contact with them.  The first human case, detected in September 2012 in the Middle East, reached 200 cases in 1.5 years, making the sharp rise in infection rates over the past week concerning.

Cases of MERS worldwide remain relatively scarce, but due to the high death rate among those with the disease and the appearance of confirmed cases outside of the Middle East, public heath agencies and scientists are monitoring cases of the disease closely.

http://guardianlv.com/2014/04/mers-cases-appear-throughout-middle-east-is-world-facing-a-new-epidemic/
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« Reply #37 on: April 26, 2014, 06:52:06 am »

Saudi Arabia says MERS virus cases top 300, 5 more die

Saudi Arabia said on Friday it had discovered 14 more cases of the potentially deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)...bringing the total number to 313. A health ministry statement said the new cases had been reported in the capital Riyadh, the coastal city of Jeddah and the "holy capital" Mecca in the past 24 hours. Authorities had also registered five more deaths due to the virus, it said.   

http://news.yahoo.com/saudi-arabia-says-mers-virus-cases-top-300-223451493.html;_ylt=AwrBEiEk5FpTnS8ALQDQtDMD
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« Reply #38 on: April 26, 2014, 08:47:58 am »

Egypt announces 1st case of SARS-like novel coronavirus in country - state TV via @Reuters
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« Reply #39 on: April 30, 2014, 07:14:35 am »

Growing number of Mers cases deeply worrying

The death toll in Saudi Arabia from the deadly Mers (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) virus has crossed 100 and the number of deaths recorded on Monday alone was the highest single-day toll. The number of cases reported, which until Monday stood at 339, and the alarming death rate of 39 so far for this month alone, are worrying indicators that the situation may rapidly be reaching a dangerous level.   

http://gulfnews.com/opinions/editorials/growing-number-of-mers-cases-deeply-worrying-1.1325368
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« Reply #40 on: May 02, 2014, 03:39:18 pm »

http://news.yahoo.com/cdc-confirms-first-case-mers-infection-us-182925029.html
5/2/14
CDC confirms first case of MERS infection in US

NEW YORK (AP) — Health officials say a deadly virus from the Middle East has turned up for the first time in the U.S.

No details about the case have been released. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention planned a Friday afternoon briefing about the case.

The CDC says it is investigating along with health officials in Indiana.

Middle East respiratory syndrome — or MERS — first surfaced two years ago. Since then, at least 400 cases of the respiratory illness have been reported, and more than 100 people have died.

Saudi Arabia was been the center of the outbreak. All the victims have had ties to the Middle East or to someone who traveled there.

The virus has been found in camels, but officials don't know how it is spreading to humans.
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« Reply #41 on: May 03, 2014, 04:30:06 am »

British passengers on same flight as patient discovered to have MERS in Chicago urged to seek medical attention if symptoms show - @SkyNews
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« Reply #42 on: May 03, 2014, 04:46:15 am »

MERS virus arrives in U.S. from Middle East

The first case of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome has been reported in Indiana.

Two years after it first cropped up in the Middle East, a potentially fatal respiratory illness arrived in the United States aboard a jetliner that landed at O'Hare International Airport 10 days ago.

The news that Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS — a virus that by one estimate has killed roughly a quarter of the relatively small number of patients confirmed to be infected by it — is on U.S. soil quickly triggered investigations by federal and state health authorities.

"Right now we don't have a lot of experience with this in the U.S.," said Dr. Michael Lin, an infectious disease specialist at Rush University Medical Center. "Most of our information about how this virus spreads comes from the Middle East."

Fortunately, MERS "does not seem to be extremely contagious," Lin said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there have been 401 confirmed MERS infections reported in 12 countries, including the most recent U.S. case. All reported cases have originated in one of six Arabian Peninsula countries: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Jordan and Kuwait. Ninety-three of the patients have died, according to the CDC.

"It certainly has captured people's attention because of how lethal it is," Lin said.

CDC officials said the virus was carried here April 24 by a traveler who flew from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to London, then on to Chicago. The patient then boarded a bus to Indiana.

Three days later, the patient developed a cough and fever and went to Community Hospital in Munster, Ind., health officials said. Doctors tested for the MERS virus, a diagnosis confirmed by the CDC and Indiana public health officials last week.

By Friday, Indiana health officials said Community Hospital had contacted "all high-risk individuals" who might have come in contact with the patient but urged anyone who visited the facility's emergency department between 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. April 28 to watch for signs and symptoms of the virus.

Health officials don't consider passengers on the patient's flights or bus to be at high risk of infection. Nonetheless, officials said the CDC was to have begun contacting passengers Saturday.

Officials have declined to release more specific information about the patient or his travels.

MERS symptoms — fever, cough and respiratory problems — resemble those of influenza. Unlike the flu, however, there is no available vaccine or specific treatment recommended for the virus. Health experts aren't certain where MERS originated.

CDC officials said they've been waiting for the virus' arrival but made clear it poses very low risk to the general public.

"In this interconnected world we live in, we expected (the virus) to make its way to the United States," said Dr. Tom Frieden, the CDC's director. "This case reminds us that we are all connected by the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink."

MERS is a new type of what scientists call "coronaviruses," a widespread group of diseases that includes the common cold and pneumonia. The highly contagious SARS virus, which killed hundreds in Asia and North America in the early 2000s, is another kind of coronavirus.

First discovered in a Saudi Arabian patient in summer 2012, some experts believe MERS originated from an animal source because it's been detected in camels and bats in the Middle East.

But so far, Lin said MERS has a low rate of human-to-human transmission. The virus spreads from ill people to others through close contact, but federal health officials say the virus hasn't been shown to spread "in a sustained way in communities."

The World Health Organization says it is not always possible to identify patients with the virus early. For that reason, the WHO says, health care facilities caring for infected patients must take measures to decrease the risk of transmission to other patients, health care workers and visitors.

Dr. David Schwartz, an infectious disease specialist with the Cook County Health and Hospitals System, said MERS often targets adults with chronic health conditions and doesn't spread via casual contact like severe acute respiratory syndrome.

"It does really seem as if you need to spend, as we say, quality time with a person who has the illness in order to catch it from them," Schwartz said. "I think there's a lot of reasons to be hopeful that this virus will not produce the kind of problems that the SARS coronavirus did."

Officials say they don't know how the Indiana patient contracted the virus, though infection may have occurred in Saudi Arabia. At this time, the CDC does not recommend anyone change their travel plans.

Though experts say the risk of infection is low, Lin said the virus' presence in the United States should remind health care professionals to consider a MERS diagnosis if a patient is exhibiting symptoms and has recently traveled to the Middle East. Patients should also share their travel histories with doctors, Lin said.

"It's a small world when it comes to diseases," he said.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-mers-chicago-met-20140504,0,640420.story
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« Reply #43 on: May 05, 2014, 03:54:39 am »

Egyptian authorities investigating the cause of death of a person suspected of being infected with coronavirus, state TV reports - @Reuters
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« Reply #44 on: May 12, 2014, 11:47:02 am »

Second U.S. MERS Case Found in Florida

A second case of the mysterious MERS virus has been found in Florida, federal health officials announced Monday.

Officials were preparing to release more details about the case later on Monday.

The first known U.S. patient with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome — a healthcare worker in his 60s — went home on Friday from the hospital in Munster, Indiana, where he had been treated. Doctors said he recovered fully.

The patient was kept isolated while he was treated for the virus and health workers who cared for him before they knew he had MERS were kept quarantined and tested for the virus. So far, he does not seem to have infected anyone else and the normal incubation period has passed.

Close to 500 cases of MERS have been reported to the World Health Organization. WHO says the virus is on the upswing, but most cases are in Saudi Arabia. WHO says for some reason hospitals in Saudi Arabia are not able to control the spread of the virus.

It’s been traced to camels and Saudi officials have cautioned people to take care when handling camels, their meat or milk. But no one is sure yet how people are being infected, and most people who have been diagnosed have not had direct contact with camels.

Experts say careful infection control can keep the virus from spreading.

Many hospitals around the world have been phasing in such precautions as the world keeps an eye out for new pandemics, and as evidence piles up on how to stop all sorts of infections, from drug-resistant superbugs such as MRSA to avian influenza.

There's no vaccine and no specific treatment for MERS, which was only identified in 2012. It’s caused by a coronavirus, in the same family of viruses that cause common cold symptoms, but also a relative of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus that swept the world in 2003. SARS sickened around 8,000 people and killed about 10 percent of victims before it was stopped.

WHO officials fear MERS could do the same thing. So far it has had about a 30 percent fatality rate, but it's less infectious than SARS was.

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/second-u-s-mers-case-found-florida-n103191
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« Reply #45 on: May 14, 2014, 06:14:56 am »

US reports third case of potential MERS virus

A third potential case of the dangerous Middle East Respiratory Virus (MERS), has been found in the United States, health authorities said Tuesday.

"Two of the 20 team members exposed to the confirmed MERS patient are showing symptoms," said Geo Morales, spokesman for the Orlando hospital where one infected patient was treated.

"One of the two has been admitted to the hospital but is in stable condition. The other was treated and discharged and is following precautions at home. All 20 team members have been tested and we are expecting those results within the next day or two," the spokesman added.

The second infected US patient was confirmed as such May 10. The man, 44, is a health care worker who resides and works in Saudi Arabia, who traveled by plane May 1 from Jeddah to London, England, then to Boston, Atlanta, and Orlando, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters.

The United States announced its first case earlier this month, a health care worker who had traveled to Riyadh at the end of April.

MERS causes fever, cough and shortness of breath, and can be lethal particularly among older people and those with pre-existing health problems.

Some 30 percent of the several hundred people infected with it have died, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The virus first emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and recent research has suggested it may originate in camels.

The vast majority of cases have been in Saudi Arabia, but MERS has also been found in 16 other countries. Most cases involved people who had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia.

http://news.yahoo.com/us-reports-third-case-potential-mers-virus-221726835.html
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« Reply #46 on: May 14, 2014, 10:01:40 am »

Netherlands reports its 1st MERS case, bringing number of countries to 18, World Health Organization says - @cnnbrk
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« Reply #47 on: May 14, 2014, 02:40:51 pm »

Saudi Arabia announces 5 new MERS deaths - @AFP

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« Reply #48 on: May 17, 2014, 03:09:52 pm »

Illinois resident tests positive for MERS after coming in contact with Indiana patient, CDC says - @nbcchicago
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« Reply #49 on: May 18, 2014, 06:14:41 am »

CDC: Illinois man is 3rd reported case of MERS in nation

A U.S. citizen previously hospitalized in Indiana with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, has passed the potentially fatal virus to an Illinois man, federal health officials said Saturday. 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-cdc-illinois-man-is-3rd-reported-case-of-mers-in-nation-20140517,0,112558.story

CDC ConfirmsThird Case of MERS Virus in the US

http://www.chinatopix.com/articles/2399/20140518/cdc-confirmsthird-case-mers-virus.htm

MERs toll rises to 168 in Saudi Arabia

The MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) coronavirus in Saudi Arabia has claimed 168 lives since September 2012, with five fresh deaths reported, the health ministry here said Sunday.

The ministry said nine more confirmed cases of MERS were reported Saturday, bringing the total number of infected cases to 629 since the outbreak of the chronic disease, Arab News reported.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/mers-toll-rises-to-168-in-saudi-arabia-114051800335_1.html
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« Reply #50 on: May 27, 2014, 09:21:05 am »

Cats and dogs to be tested for mysterious Mers infection

Scientists are soon to test cats, dogs and even rats as they seek to understand the mysterious Mers infection.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome was first discovered in 2012 and has so far killed about 200 people globally.

While the virus that causes it has been found widely in camels, researchers say it could be lurking in other species.

One expert told BBC News that the hunt was likely to extend soon to animals that had close contact with people.

Mers was originally found in a patient from Bishah in Saudi Arabia but since then almost 600 cases of the infection have been discovered around the world, with about 30% of those who get sick dying from the illness.

Researchers believe the coronavirus that causes the infection crossed over from animals.

As the numbers of people infected by the virus rose, scientists sought to test common animals in the Middle East for exposure.

Using blood samples from camels in the Canary Islands, Dutch researchers found the first antibodies to the disease. They liken these antibodies to footprints, indicating that the virus had once passed through the animal.

A recent study showed conclusively that the version of the virus circulating in humans is indistinguishable from the one that's been found in camels.

However, the lead author of that report, Dr Thomas Briese from Columbia University in New York, believes that there are many unanswered questions about the disease.

He points to the fact that if camels were the sole route of infection, then the illness should be more prevalent among those who work with or are in close contact with the animals.

And there have been a small number of cases of people dying from Mers who have no known relationship with camels.

"We do have these sporadic cases where there is no known exposure to known cases and we question where do they catch the virus," he told BBC News.

"In some cases there was animal contact or camel contact but in others not, so there is no clear definitive picture yet."

Dr Briese says that other species, including goats and sheep, have been tested but haven't shown antibodies indicating exposure.

Another report showed that the geographic distribution of the disease in camels is far more widespread than previously thought, with significant reservoirs in Nigeria, Ethiopia and Tunisia.

Adding to the Mers mystery, there have been no reports of people dying from the respiratory infection in these areas.

These unknowns, says Dr Briese, are pushing researchers to extend the search for the Mers coronavirus to domestic animals.

"The others that we are looking into or are trying to look into are cats, dogs - where there is more intimate contact - and any other wild species we can get serum from that we are not currently getting."

The issue of how to tackle Mers will be on the agenda here in Paris, at the congress of the world organisation for animal health (OIE).

Addressing this meeting of veterinarians and ministers, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Margaret Chan also struck a note of caution on the role of camels in the spread of the disease.

"Our current concern, of course, is about the human cases of Mers. I thank OIE for a very balanced scientific assessment on the possible role of camels in the transmission cycle.

"The evidence, however, is by no means conclusive and we need to know this as we issue advice to the public."

One of the biggest worries about Mers is that the virus will mutate and become more easily spread among humans. So far there is no evidence that has happened.

"It can happen at any time - mutations occur randomly," said Dr Briese.

"The larger the numbers the higher the probability. That's the point of trying to stem these human infections."

Work on the development of a vaccine has shown some progress although it is still highly experimental. Scientists say that if one is developed it will most likely be used on animals like camels and not on humans.

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-27538712
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« Reply #51 on: June 03, 2014, 10:55:31 am »

Saudi Arabia confirms additional 113 cases of MERS not previously recorded in the kingdom, bringing total to 688; death toll raised to 282 from 190 - @Reuters
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« Reply #52 on: June 08, 2014, 10:38:23 pm »

http://www.ksl.com/?sid=30202253&nid=148
2 Utahns tracked after coming in contact with deadly MERS virus
6/4/14

SALT LAKE CITY — Health officials confirm they have been tracking two Utahns who came in contact with the deadly MERS virus as they traveled.

The two Utahns live in Davis County, said Salt Lake County Health Director Gary Edwards, and they traveled on the same flights as a patient with Middle East Respiratory Virus (MERS) coming back from Saudi Arabia. They didn't find out until after their flight was over that their health could be compromised, he added.

“There have been three cases in the United States," Edwards said. "Two of those individuals flew; had multiple legs coming from Saudi Arabia coming back to the United States. There have been a few individuals who were on those flights.”

The first two cases in the U.S. were brought back by health care workers who were in Saudi Arabia. The first case of MERS in the U.S. was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on May 2, 2014, the CDC website said. The third person to get MERS, in the middle of May, came in contact with one of the original MERS patients.

Salt Lake and Davis County health officials were asked by the CDC to investigate them as they try to track how MERS operates. The two people in Utah have not shown any symptoms, which means they don't have the virus, Edwards said.

“What we learned from these few examples is that it apparently does not spread easily person to person," he said. "There has to be much closer contact, such as health care, or family members who are providing care.”

There is no cure for MERS and it is not known how long the threat will last. It first showed up in Saudi Arabia in 2012, the CDC reported. Symptoms include cough, fever and shortness of breath.

The virus kills about a third of those it infects.
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« Reply #53 on: July 23, 2014, 07:16:46 am »

WHO: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome could be airborne

In a scientific paper published Tuesday, scientists suggested that Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) may be airborne. The disease has already claimed at least 288 lives since its appearance in 2012.

Researchers at King Fahd Medical Research Center in Saudi Arabia analyzed air samples from an infected camel barn, and the samples tested positive for a strain of the viral genome MERS RNA, CNN reports. The possibility of MERS being airborne has been in question after reports found that some infected people had close contact with other MERS patients. The WHO recommends that "airborne precautions should be applied" when treating MERS, in case the disease may spread through air particles.

"These data show evidence for the presence of the airborne MERS in the same barn that was owned by the patient and sheltered the infected camels," the study authors said in a statement. However, doctors are still looking into the difference between dead and live virus particles and are unsure whether MERS can be transmitted through aerosols. Watch CNN's report on the spread of MERS below. --Meghan DeMaria

http://theweek.com/speedreads/index/265151/speedreads-who-middle-east-respiratory-syndrome-could-be-airborne
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