End Times and Current Events

General Category => Health => Topic started by: Mark on September 26, 2012, 11:59:57 am

Title: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus/SARS/MERS
Post by: Mark on September 26, 2012, 11:59:57 am
WHO issues guidance on new virus, gears up for haj

The World Health Organization on Wednesday urged health workers everywhere to report patients with acute respiratory infection who may have been in Saudi Arabia or Qatar, following the discovery of a new virus from the same family as SARS.

Saudi Arabia said it had taken precautions to prevent disease spreading next month, when it expects over 2 million Muslims to flock to the annual haj pilgrimage, then return home.

WHO put out a global alert on Sunday saying a new virus had infected a 49-year-old Qatari who had recently travelled to Saudi Arabia, where another man with an almost identical virus had died.

rest: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/26/us-virus-idUSBRE88P0FD20120926

Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus
Post by: Mark on November 25, 2012, 05:54:37 am
Second Death Reported From New Virus

A second person has died from a new respiratory illness similar to the Sars virus, according to the World Health Organization. The WHO said three fresh cases had also been reported bringing the total to six. All are linked to either Saudi Arabia or Qatar. However, one man has been transferred to the UK for treatment.


Is a New SARS-like Virus Spreading in the Middle East?
As with most emerging epidemics, we usually ignore them until people start dying. If the same logic applies here, it's time to begin paying attention to the new SARS-like virus found in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus
Post by: Mark on November 25, 2012, 05:57:35 am
4 more cases of new SARS-like virus confirmed

Second coronavirus death reported

Four new cases of SARS-like virus found in Saudi, Qatar

SARS-like virus: 4 new cases found

Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus
Post by: Mark on November 25, 2012, 04:02:25 pm
Bats Harbor New Deadly Respiratory Virus

LiveScience.com - Wed, Nov 21, 2012

In June, a 60-year-old man checked into a hospital in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, with a mysterious illness. The man, who had acute pneumonia and failing kidneys, eventually died.

More: http://news.yahoo.com/bats-harbor-deadly-respiratory-virus-185333197.html

Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 27, 2012, 01:01:36 pm

2 killed on account of new SARS-like virus

 Number of reported cases as well as the number of fatalities linked with the respiratory ailment doubled on Friday

A new Coronavirus similar in nature to severe acute respiratory syndrome has infected six and has resulted in two deaths in the Middle East, media reports said.
The number of reported cases as well as the number of fatalities linked with the respiratory ailment doubled on Friday, as the second person was reported killed and three more infections had been reported by the World Health Organization. 
Both fatalities occurred in Saudi Arabia, and reports of the virus had been limited to that country and Qatar and one man had been transported to UK for treatment.
WHO initially issued a global warning about the disease in September, and cautioned that a Qatar man who had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia had become infected with a virus that had previously never been detected in humans, where a second man had died from the same disease. 


Title: Fifth coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on November 30, 2012, 08:22:34 pm
Fifth coronavirus death reported

A fifth person has died from a new respiratory illness similar to the Sars virus, according to the World Health Organization.

The WHO said the two latest deaths were in Jordan. The disease had previously been detected only in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, although one patient was transferred to the UK for treatment.

It brings the total number of cases of the infection to nine.

There may also be evidence of human to human spread of the virus.

It causes pneumonia and sometimes kidney failure.

There was a series of severe cases of pneumonia in Jordan earlier in the year. However, the novel coronavirus had not been discovered at the time so did not appear in routine tests.

Two of the deaths in April have now been confirmed as being part of the outbreak.

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses ranging from the common cold to the Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus. They infect a wide range of animals.

In 2002 an outbreak of Sars killed about 800 people after the virus spread to more than 30 countries around the world.

The WHO is still trying to work out where the infection came from. Studies show that the virus is closely related to one found in some species of bats.

How readily the virus spreads will be important for assessing how great a threat it poses.

The WHO said that, unlike Sars, the new coronavirus, "does not appear to transmit easily between people".

However, it warns that two clusters in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, "raise the possibility of limited human-to-human transmission" or they could have been exposed to the same source of the infection.


Title: Re: Fifth coronavirus death reported
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on November 30, 2012, 09:49:36 pm
Fifth coronavirus death reported

A fifth person has died from a new respiratory illness similar to the Sars virus, according to the World Health Organization.

The WHO said the two latest deaths were in Jordan. The disease had previously been detected only in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, although one patient was transferred to the UK for treatment.

Isn't Jordan the last Arab country in the ME to NOT have an Islamist/anti-West leader? No, not saying this is their intent, but recently they've been doing everything they can to overthrow the leadership in the Jordan government(for obvious reasons).(ie-the massive protests et al)

Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on March 08, 2013, 02:29:32 am
U.S. warns health officials to be alert for deadly new virus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday warned state and local health officials about potential infections from a deadly virus previously unseen in humans that has now sickened 14 people and killed 8.

Most of the infections have occurred in the Middle East, but a new analysis of three confirmed infections in Britain suggests the virus can pass from person to person rather than from animal to humans, the CDC said in its Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report on Thursday.

The virus is a coronavirus, part of the same family of viruses as the common cold and the deadly outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that first emerged in Asia in 2003. The new virus is not the same as SARS, but like the SARS virus, it is similar to those found in bats.

So far, no cases have been reported in the United States.

According to the CDC's analysis, the infections in Britain started with a 60-year-old man who had recently traveled to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and developed a respiratory illness on January 24, 2013. Samples from the man showed he was infected with both the new virus and with H1N1, or swine flu.

This man subsequently passed the infection to two members of his household: a male with an underlying illness who became ill on February 6 and subsequently died; and a healthy adult female in his household who developed a respiratory illness on February 5, but who did not need to be hospitalized and has recovered.

The CDC said people who develop a severe acute lower respiratory illness within 10 days of returning from the Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries should continue to be evaluated according to current guidelines.

The health agency said doctors should be watchful of patients who develop an unexplained respiratory infection within 10 days of traveling from the Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries. The CDC has set up a special website with updates on the infections at http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/ncv/ .

Symptoms of infection with this new virus include severe acute respiratory illness with fever, cough and shortness of breath. Neither the CDC nor the World Health Organization has issued travel restrictions related to the virus.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on March 13, 2013, 08:45:57 am
WHO confirms 15th case of deadly new virus in Saudi Arabia
By Kate Kelland. LONDON | Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:51pm EDT. LONDON (Reuters) - A Saudi man infected with a deadly new virus from the same family as SARS has died, becoming the ninth patient in the world to be killed the disease which has so far infected ...


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on March 14, 2013, 03:53:26 am
Scientists find how deadly new virus infects human cells

Scientists have worked out how a deadly new virus which was unknown in humans until last year is able to infect human cells and cause severe, potentially fatal damage to the lungs.

In one of the first detailed studies of the virus - which emerged in the Middle East and has so far infected 15 people worldwide, killing nine of them - Dutch researchers identified a cell surface protein it uses to enter and infect human cells.

The finding, published in the journal Nature, came as the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed the 15th case of the virus, known as novel coronavirus or NCoV, in a male patient in Saudi Arabia who died on March 2.

Other cases have been in Jordan and Qatar, and in patients in Germany and Britain linked to travel in the Middle East.

NCoV is from the same family of viruses as those that cause common colds and the one that caused the deadly outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that first emerged in Asia in 2003.

The WHO first issued an international alert about it in September after it was identified in a Qatari man in Britain who had recently been in Saudi Arabia.

A study published last month found that NCoV was well adapted to infecting human cells and may be treatable with medicines similar to the ones used for SARS, which killed a tenth of the 8,000 people it infected.

In this latest study, led by Bart Haagmans at the Erasmus Medical Center in The Netherlands, researchers set out to find how the virus got into cells - which receptors it used - and then to find out where in the body those receptors were common.


"Once you can identify the receptor and you know the distribution of the receptor in the body, then you can get more information on the pathogenesis (the way it infects people) of the virus and the possibility for transmission," Haagmans said in a telephone interview.

Researchers identified the key receptor for the disease as a cell surface protein called dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4).

They also found cells containing DPP4 receptors were common in the lower respiratory tract but not in the upper respiratory tract - giving clues to why the virus causes illness in the lungs rather than in the nose and throat as a cold virus would.

The findings should help researchers find ways of developing potential drugs or vaccines to block the DPP4 receptors and prevent infection, Haagmans said.

A few drugs that block DPP4 receptors are already on the market, licensed for use in diabetes, but Haagmans said his team already tried using those to stop the virus in laboratory tests and found they did not work.

He said, however, that the team was working with other molecules that might block the receptors and could form the basis for developing a potential vaccine.

Initial analysis by scientists at Britain's Health Protection Agency last year found that NCoV's closest relatives were most probably bat viruses.

Yet further work by a research team in Germany suggests NCoV may have come through an intermediary - possibly goats.

Haagmans said since DPP4 receptors were also present in other species, including bats, his findings showed it was feasible the virus came from bats. He said the idea that goats may have been an intermediary also looked feasible.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on May 02, 2013, 09:22:23 am
Saudi Arabia says five dead from new SARS-like virus

Saudi Arabia said five more people have died of a deadly new virus from the same family as SARS, and two other people were in intensive care.

The seven cases were discovered in al-Ahsa governorate in the Eastern Province, the Saudi news agency SPA quoted the Saudi Health Ministry as saying in a statement late on Wednesday.

A Saudi man died in March from the virus.

The novel coronavirus (NCoV) is from the same family of viruses as those that cause common colds and the one that caused the deadly outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that first emerged in Asia in 2003.

The new virus is not the same as SARS, but similar to it and also to other coronaviruses found in bats. It was unknown in humans until it emerged in the Middle East last year. There have been confirmed cases in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Britain.

Research by scientists in Europe has found that NCoV is well adapted to infecting humans and may be treatable with medicines similar to the ones used for SARS, which killed a tenth of the 8,000 people it infected.

In a March 26 update on its website the World Health Organization (WHO) said it had been informed of a global total of 17 confirmed cases of human infection with NCoV, including 11 deaths.

The Geneva-based WHO said it was monitoring the situation closely and urged its member states to continue surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections and to carefully review any unusual patterns.

“WHO is currently working with international experts and countries where cases have been reported to assess the situation and review recommendations for surveillance and monitoring,” it said, adding that national authorities should “promptly assess and notify” it of any new NCoV cases.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on May 06, 2013, 11:24:46 am
SARS-like virus kills two more in Saudi: ministry

A new SARS-like virus has killed two more people in Saudi Arabia, taking the number of deaths from the coronavirus that the kingdom has announced to seven in one week, the health ministry said.
"The health ministry has announced that three infections by the new coronavirus have been registered during the past days in Al-Ahsaa. Two of the victims have died while the third is in a stable condition," state news agency SPA said late Sunday.
The report did not identify the nationality of the latest victims.
On Wednesday, the health ministry announced five Saudis recently died of the SARS-like virus and that two more were being treated in an intensive care unit.
The World Health Organisation said on Friday that three new cases of the virus were detected in Saudi Arabia.
The outbreak has occurred in the oil-rich Red Sea region of Al-Ahsaa, which is near Bahrain and Qatar.
The latest deaths bring the number of people who have died after contracting the virus -- first detected last year -- to 18, of which 11 have been reported in Saudi Arabia.
The SPA report on Sunday said the ministry "reassures everyone that the cases are still not widespread compared with other flu viruses," adding there was "no reason to worry".
The ministry says 13 infections have been "recently" registered in the kingdom.
The virus was first detected in mid-2012 and is a cousin of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which triggered a scare 10 years ago when it erupted in east Asia, leaping to humans from animal hosts.
The mysterious virus has been deadliest in Saudi Arabia, and the other cases were reported in Jordan, Germany and Britain


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on May 08, 2013, 01:03:51 pm
France reports first case of new SARS-like virus

(Reuters) - France has identified its first case of a new strain of coronavirus emerging from the Middle East in a person recently returned from the United Arab Emirates, the health ministry said on Wednesday

The ministry said it had opened an investigation into what it said was the first and only confirmed case of the virus in France and would hold a news conference later in the day.

"The person has been placed in isolation in an intensive care ward," the ministry said in a statement.

The Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) said it had been informed of the French case but had no further details.

Worldwide, there have been 30 laboratory-confirmed cases of the virus, including 18 deaths, since it came to scientists' attention in September, according to WHO data.

The coronavirus is from the same viral family as the common cold and triggered the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that swept the world from Asia in late 2003, killing 775 people.

There is no evidence yet of sustained human-to-human spread of the new virus, but there are concerns about clusters of cases reported by the WHO in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Britain.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on May 10, 2013, 10:11:14 am
Third suspected case of SARS-like virus in France

A third suspected case of coronavirus has been reported in France. A nurse who had been in contact with the first confirmed patient may have contracted the potentially fatal condition alongside a doctor and a patient in a hospital in northern France.

The 65-year-old Frenchman is said to have contracted the respiratory virus on a visit to Dubai. He was admitted to hospital on April 23 and is now in a critical condition.
The new coronavirus can cause acute pneumonia and kidney failure.

French Health Minister Marisol Touraine said it was an isolated case, but that everything possible was being done in collaboration with international health authorities to contain it.

The new coronavirus is from the same viral family as SARS which killed 775 people in 2003. So far 33 cases have been reported worldwide and 18 have died from the illness first identified in the Middle East. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised countries to test people with unexplained pneumonia.

The WHO is investigating how the virus is transmitted. The new strain most resembles a bat virus, and scientists are investigating possible sources of infection. So far it is not proving as contagious as SARS, though it has spread between family members in Britain and health workers in Jordan.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on May 12, 2013, 08:00:53 am
World Health Organization says new coronavirus, which has killed 18 people in Saudi Arabia and Europe, can likely be passed from person to person - @Reuters

Saudi deputy health minister says 2 more people have died from new coronavirus in Saudi Arabia - @Reuters


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on May 12, 2013, 10:17:33 am
Worldwide coronavirus cases 2013
A 2nd man in France has been diagnosed with Coronavirus after sharing a hospital room with France's only other sufferer  - @Reuters


WHO says new coronavirus may be passed person to person

The World Health Organization says it appears likely that the novel coronavirus (NCoV) can be passed between people in close contact.

This comes after the French health ministry confirmed a second man had contracted the virus in a possible case of human-to-human transmission.

Two more people in Saudi Arabia are also reported to have died from the virus, according to health officials.

NCoV is known to cause pneumonia and sometimes kidney failure.

World Health Organization (WHO) officials have expressed concern over the clusters of cases of the new coronavirus strain and the potential for it to spread.

Since 2012, there have been 33 confirmed cases across Europe and the Middle East, with 18 deaths, according to a recent WHO update.

Cases have been detected in Saudi Arabia and Jordan and have spread to Germany, the UK and France.

"Of most concern... is the fact that the different clusters seen in multiple countries increasingly support the hypothesis that when there is close contact this novel coronavirus can transmit from person to person," the World Health Organization said on Sunday.

"This pattern of person-to-person transmission has remained limited to some small clusters and so far, there is no evidence to suggest the virus has the capacity to sustain generalised transmission in communities," the statement adds.

France's second confirmed case was a 50-year-old man who had shared a hospital room in Valenciennes, northern France, with a 65-year-old who fell ill with the virus after returning from Dubai.

"Positive results [for the virus] have been confirmed for both patients," the French health ministry said, adding that both men were being treated in isolation wards.

Meanwhile, the Saudi deputy minister of health said on Sunday that two more people had died from the coronavirus, bringing the number of fatalities to nine in the al-Ahsa governorate in the east of Saudi Arabia, Reuters news agency reports.

WHO officials have not yet confirmed the latest deaths.

In February, a patient died in a hospital in Birmingham, England, after three members of the same family became infected.

It is thought a family member had picked up the virus while travelling to the Middle East and Pakistan.

Novel coronavirus is from the same family of viruses as the one that caused an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) that emerged in Asia in 2003.

However, NCoV and Sars are distinct from each other, the WHO said in its statement on Sunday.

Coronavirus is known to cause respiratory infections in both humans and animals.

But it is not yet clear whether it is a mutation of an existing virus or an infection in animals that has made the jump to humans.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on May 30, 2013, 07:57:50 am
Saudi Arabia reports 3 more deaths from new virus

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) -- Saudi Arabia has reported that three more people have died from a new respiratory virus related to SARS, bringing the total number of deaths globally to 30.
The Ministry of Health said Thursday the three deceased, ranging in age from 24 to 60, had chronic diseases, including kidney failure. It says they were hospitalized a month ago.
The Ministry also announced a new case of the respiratory virus called MERS, bringing to 38 the number of those infected in the kingdom. It identified the afflicted person only as a 61-year-old from the Al-Ahsa region where the outbreak in a health care facility started in April.
The World Health Organization said the new germ, a respiratory infection, was first seen in the Middle East and sickened more than 49 people worldwide.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on May 30, 2013, 08:51:46 am
WHO calls new coronavirus ‘threat to the entire world’ as death toll rises to 27

May 29, 2013 – HEALTH - Three more people have died from a deadly new SARS-like virus, taking the total death toll to 27.

The unnamed victims were from Saudi Arabia and died in the country’s eastern region, the Saudi health ministry confirmed today. Yesterday, a 65-year-old man died in France as health officials warned the MERS-CoV virus is now a global threat with 49 confirmed cases worldwide. Earlier this week, the World Health Organization warned that the disease, first identified in humans in September, is now their greatest global concern.

The MERS-CoV virus is related to SARS, which killed some 800 people in a global epidemic in 2003. Dr Margaret Chan, head of the WHO, singled out the illness in a speech on Monday in Geneva. ‘We understand too little about this virus when viewed against the magnitude of its potential threat,’ Chan said at the annual WHO meeting. ‘We do not know where the virus hides in nature. We do not know how people are getting infected. Until we answer these questions, we are empty-handed when it comes to prevention. These are alarm bells. And we must respond. She said the ‘novel coronavirus is a threat to the entire world.’ WHO said in an update earlier this month that 20 of the 40 confirmed cases of the disease have ended in death. Most of those infected since the virus was identified last year had traveled to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan or Pakistan. There also have been cases in Britain and Germany.
Saudi Arabia accounts for the majority of confirmed cases, which stands at 33, according to WHO officials. Tunisia last week became the ninth country in which the virus has been confirmed.

It is believed the disease is transmitted mainly from person-to-person contact, but so far does not spread easily among larger communities. Authorities believe initial transmission of the virus was from animal to human but have yet to identify the animal sources. French authorities earlier this month began handing out leaflets at airports to travelers to the Middle East advising them to wash their hands frequently and limit contact with animals. The French victim had been in hospital for more than a month, spending the last 20 days in a room of the intensive care unit of the hospital where he was on life-support systems. Speaking about the death of the patient from the virus, French health minister Marisol Touraine said ‘There is no cause for additional concern.’ –Daily Mail


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on June 01, 2013, 08:30:05 am
Novel Middle East virus may take more than a week to sicken victims

The unfolding mysteries of the illness known as Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus already have the makings of an epidemiological thriller, and two newly published case reports offer grist for whoever writes the screenplay based on the latest infectious outbreak.

Since it was first detected in September 2012 in Saudi Arabia, this strain of coronavirus appears to have sickened at least 49 and killed roughly 26 people in seven countries. But public health sleuths are still scrambling to figure out some essential facts about the virus: how it spreads from person to person, who is most (and least) vulnerable, when a victim is most contagious, and how long the virus incubates before making its victims noticeably ill.

Without answers to those questions, public health authorities don't know how best to stop the virus' spread. They don't even know how hard they should be working to do so, since they don't really know what percentage of people who contract the virus become seriously ill or die. While it appears to kill roughly half of those infected, that "case fatality rate" could get less scary as we learn more about the number of people who get infected but don't fall seriously ill.

The new case reports, published this week in the British journal the Lancet and in the New England Journal of Medicine, offer some clues that may help solve the unanswered questions. But they leave much to be resolved, and raise new questions as well.

A detailed account of two patients infected with the MERS coronavirus in France suggests two attributes of the virus, both of them rather frightening:

First, the virus appears able to spread from person to person in the tight confines of a shared hospital room over three days (despite no direct physical contact between the two patients): The French physicians and virus-hunters who investigated the course of illness of two men infected with the virus believe that "transmission through large respiratory droplets" is the most likely explanation for how the virus jumped from one man to the other.

In late April, the two men's paths crossed for three days in a hospital room in Valenciennes, France, where the first patient -- a diabetic 64-year-old man who visited Dubai for a week in April and fell ill with fever, chills and diarrhea -- shared a hospital room with Patient Two, a 51-year-old man with a history of heart disease and blood clots.

At the same time, the investigators couldn't rule out the possibility that, like the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus that killed about 775 in 2003, the virus is transmitted through blood or feces. The latter possibility is also suggested by the Lancet's case report, which describes the virus' path of destruction through an extended family living at the edge of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Three of the four men sickened by the virus had gastrointestinal symptoms during the early course of their illness, which killed two of the men.

In a second finding, the French investigators suggest that the "incubation period" of the Middle East coronavirus is long: It could take nine to 12 days from the time a patient is exposed to the virus for him to show symptoms of severe illness.

That lengthy incubation period -- possibly several days longer than that of the SARS virus -- could make it harder for investigators to track and control infections. If the infection's spread is to be stemmed, patients suffering from the infection's common early symptoms -- chills, fever and muscle aches -- and who may have come in contact with the virus may need to be kept in isolation for close to two weeks. That will be a tall order in countries where citizens and travelers expect to circulate freely.

Even more diabolical, the virus may not be easily identified in the kinds of non-invasive mouth-and-nose swabs that are widely used to detect the infected. In the case of the two roommates in the French hospital, early efforts to confirm the presence of the virus in the first patient's upper respiratory tract turned up nothing. Sputum samples sometimes revealed no infection, and then showed positive a week later. A more invasive procedure -- bronchial lavage -- could ferret out the virus in several of the patients, but often only after they had died.

In the process, the case studies illuminate the messy, human side of medicine that makes it so difficult to discern the complex course of an outbreak and act to stop it. Hospital workers in Valenciennes took no special precautions with the first patient, because the Middle East virus was not suspected. Several of the infected patients, especially those who died, had underlying diseases that may or may not prove to be relevant. "Transportation issues" delayed the analysis of one of the French sputum samples by almost two weeks. And female family members who acted as the early caregivers of the infected Saudi men never got sick, while other case studies have found that hospital workers with similar exposures did.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on June 01, 2013, 01:48:01 pm
First case of coronavirus confirmed in Italy

Italy has confirmed its first case of coronavirus, a new and deadly respiratory virus that has alarmed world health officials. The patient is a 45-year-old man who had recently returned from a 40-day trip to Jordan. The Italian health ministry said he was in good condition and being treated at a hospital in Tuscany


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on June 02, 2013, 07:44:22 am

Saudi Arabia has reported that three more people have died from a new respiratory virus related to SARS, bringing the total number of deaths in the kingdom to 24.

The Ministry of Health said Sunday the three deceased were among 38 infected in the kingdom with the respiratory virus called MERS.

It says two of the three whose deaths were reported Sunday were suffering from chronic diseases.

The World Health Organization said the new germ was first seen in the Middle East and that it had killed about 800 people in a global epidemic in 2003.

The WHO said Saturday prior to the latest Saudi announcement that it had been informed of 51 confirmed cases of the new virus since September and 30 of those cases were fatal.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on June 07, 2013, 10:09:25 am
New Saudi death from MERS virus, ministry says

The Saudi health ministry on Thursday announced the death of one of its citizens in the eastern region of Al-Ahsaa after he contracted MERS, a SARS-like virus.

The ministry website said the latest death, announced on Wednesday, brings to 25 the number of people who have died from the virus since September, adding that 40 people are suffering from the disease in the kingdom.

The strain was renamed the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, or MERS, reflecting the fact that the bulk of the cases are in that region, mainly in Saudi Arabia.

On May 31, the World Health Organization said that the global death toll from the virus has risen to 30.

Previously known as nCoV-EMC novel coronavirus, the disease is a cousin of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which sparked a world health scare in 2003 when it leapt from animals to humans in Asia and killed some 800 people.

Like SARS, MERS appears to cause an infection deep in the lungs, with patients suffering from a temperature, coughing and difficulty breathing.

However, it differs from SARS in that it also causes rapid kidney failure.

Health officials have expressed concern about the high rate of fatalities compared to the number of cases, warning that the disease could spark a new global crisis if it acquires an ability to spread more easily.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on June 07, 2013, 10:10:05 am
U.S. Says Deadly MERS Virus Could Affect Nat’l Security

As Saudi and U.N. health authorities report new infections from a troubling new respiratory disease, there are concerns that the approaching Hajj – the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca – could increase the risk of spreading the virus as pilgrims return to their home countries.
Meanwhile the U.S. government, in a notice published in the Federal Register Wednesday, declared that the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV, or simply MERS) could potentially “affect national security or the health and security of United States citizens living abroad.”
Saudi Arabia is currently the undisputed center of the scare.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the majority of the 55 confirmed MERS cases – 40 infections, 24 deaths – have occurred in the kingdom, while two deaths each have been reported in Britain and Jordan and one death each in France and the United Arab Emirates. (The fatalities in Europe were linked to visits to the Middle East.)

Infections also have been reported in Qatar, Tunisia and Italy.

The notice published in the Federal Register Wednesday said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has determined that “there is a significant potential for a public health emergency that has a significant potential to affect national security or the health and security of United States citizens living abroad.”
That determination in turn allows the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to bypass standard processes and fast-track approval for products or drugs in relation to MERS, on the basis of an “emergency use application” (EUA).
The FDA may under the prescribed circumstances issue an EUA “authorizing (1) the emergency use of an unapproved drug, an unapproved or uncleared device, or an unlicensed biological product; or (2) an unapproved use of an approved drug, approved or cleared device, or licensed biological product,” the notice says.
Saudi Arabia says more than two million Muslims – including roughly 20,000 from the United States – visit Mecca for the Hajj, which brings large numbers of people into close proximity in a confined geographical area over a five-day period. This year’s pilgrimage falls in mid-October.
As of Wednesday, the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) said it was not advising any “special screening at points of entry” as a result of the outbreak, “nor does it currently recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions.”
Updated guidelines for Hajj pilgrims, issued by the Saudi Embassy in Washington, make no mention of MERS in a section on health issues and vaccination requirements. Vaccinations that are required for adults include those for meningitis, seasonal flu, and the H1N1 flu virus.
The guidelines do include an unspecific warning: “Health experts advise the following groups to postpone their plans for Hajj and Umrah this year for their own safety: The elderly, the terminally ill, pregnant women, and children.” (The Umrah is a secondary type of pilgrimage to Mecca, one that can be taken any time of the year.)
In its health guidelines related to MERS, the Saudi health ministry has one reference to the pilgrimage, advising the wearing of face masks “in the overcrowded places during Hajj or Umrah.”
A Malaysian study published in the Journal of Travel Medicine in 2010 found that more than 60 percent of Malaysian pilgrims developed respiratory systems, including coughs, sore throats and fever, during the 2007 Hajj.
A French study, published in the same journal and examining French pilgrims at the 2009 Hajj, found that although almost 80 percent reported having worn face masks, their use “did not significantly reduce respiratory symptoms.”
The most recent fatality reported to WHO by Saudi health authorities is that of a 14 year-old girl. It was noted that she is not from an area in the east of the kingdom called Al-Ahsa, where a cluster of cases at one hospital since April accounted for 22 infections and 10 deaths.
According to the CDC, there have been no reports of anyone in the U.S. becoming infected with the virus, whose symptoms can include cause coughing, fever and pneumonia.
Much about the virus is unknown, including its origin (bats are a suspected host), how infections are occurring, the conditions under which it could spread from one person to another, and chances of mutation into a more easily-transmissible form.
Experts say it is distinct from, but similar to, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which was blamed for 774 deaths between late 2002 and mid-2003, more than 80 percent of them in mainland China and Hong Kong.
“Although the number of cases documented is limited, the morbidity and mortality of the infection is alarming, as is its uncanny resemblance – at least in its clinical features – to SARS,” the Coronavirus Study Group (CSG) of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses said in a report in May, at a time when the number of confirmed MERS infections stood at 30.
“While a small minority of the known cases developed mild disease, most patients presented with a severe acute respiratory condition requiring hospitalization; the mortality rate is approximately 60 percent,” the CSG said. (The mortality rate currently is about 55 percent).
While WHO has not issued travel or screening advisories, it is encouraging vigilance, saying travelers returning from the Middle East who develop severe acute respiratory infections should be tested for MERS.
WHO is also advising clinicians that in patients whose immunity is compromised, MERS infection should be considered, even in cases of atypical symptoms, such as diarrhea.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on June 17, 2013, 10:00:00 am
Saudi announces four new deaths from MERS virus

Four people have died from the MERS virus in Saudi Arabia, brining the death toll from the SARS-like virus in the kingdom to 32, the health ministry said on its website Monday.
Two people died in the western city of Taif and the other two were pronounced dead in Eastern Province, where most cases have been registered, said the statement.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 17, 2013, 11:59:05 am
U.S. Says Deadly MERS Virus Could Affect Nat’l Security

It's come to a point where EVERYTHING is (supposedly)affecting national security now... ::)

Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on June 23, 2013, 05:39:06 am
World Health Organisation calls emergency meeting to respond to SARS-like outbreak

Health experts have started an emergency international meeting to devise ways of combating a mysterious virus that has been described as the single biggest worldwide public health threat after claiming 38 lives, mostly in Saudi Arabia.

Amid fears of a new pandemic more deadly than Sars, 80 officials and doctors, including two from Britain, gathered in Cairo yesterday to examine ways of tackling Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, dubbed MERS.

The coronavirus is casting a shadow over the annual Muslim pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia, where four new deaths were announced on Monday.

The three-day meeting called by the World Health Organisation will look at developing guidelines for Ramadan. In October, more than two million people are expected to attend the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

"Everyone is very aware of the fact that Ramadan begins next month and that there will be a large, large movement of people in a small crowded spaces," said Gregory Hartl, a spokesman for the WHO. "So the more we know about this virus before that starts the better."

There are also concerns that tourists could bring the virus back to their home countries. It appears to have an incubation period of up to 12 days and a fatality rate of 60 per cent.

Cases have also been found in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and Jordan. Most were patients transferred home from the Middle East for treatment or people who had travelled to the region and became ill after they returned.

Dr Jon Bible, a clinical scientist, who treated one of the three British cases last year, said: “You don’t want to have this.”

Sufferers, he said, “are very close to death at all times. They are in respiratory distress at all times, it’s like a very serious pneumonia”.

His patient at St Thomas’s Hospital survived after several months of artificial respiration and even now has breathing difficulties.

The relief for authorities is that it has not yet mutated so as to gain the ability to jump easily from person to person.

Mr Hartl said: “We have been lucky it hasn’t started to spread in any sustainable way between humans. We still have time, but we have to use that time to act.”

An international team of doctors who investigated nearly two dozen cases in eastern Saudi Arabia found the virus has some striking similarities to SARS, which killed 800 people around the world as it spread a global health panic in 2003.

Unlike SARS, though, scientists remain baffled about the source of the new virus, which was first reported in April 2012.

The symptoms of both are similar, with an initial fever and cough that may last for a few days before overpowering pneumonia develops.

"To me, this felt a lot like SARS did," said Trish Perl, a senior hospital epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine, who was part of the team. Their report was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr Perl said they pinpoint how it was spread in every case - through droplets from sneezing or coughing, or a more indirect route.

The team was alarmed to find MERS only spread within hospitals, even though some hospital patients were not close to the infected person.

"In the right circumstances, the spread could be explosive," said Dr Perl.

What is of particular concern is the high fatality rate of the virus. It has caused death in about 60 percent of patients so far, with 75 percent of cases in men and most in people with serious health conditions. There are currently no known treatments.

Margaret Chan, WHO director-general, previously called MERS a “threat to the entire world”.

Dr Dipti Patel, joint director of Public Health England’s National Travel Health Network and Centre, said: “Given that there have only been a relatively small number of confirmed MERS-CoV coronavirus cases worldwide, people planning to travel to the Middle East should continue with their plans but follow the general advice about staying safe and healthy when travelling, and especially the available guidance on the Hajj and Umrah."


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on June 26, 2013, 11:49:54 am
Saudis, WHO report 8 silent MERS cases

Saudi Arabia reported nine new MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) cases in the past 3 days, including six cases that were asymptomatic.

In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Jun 22 that two Saudi MERS cases that had been announced earlier were also asymptomatic. The Saudi and WHO reports offered the clearest evidence yet of such cases, which suggest the possibility that people can unknowingly carry and spread the virus.

Also over the weekend, the WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO) appealed for fast, complete reporting of MERS-CoV cases, in the wake of a meeting in Cairo of public health experts from all countries that have had cases.

New Saudi cases

The Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) announced the latest cases and deaths in statements on Jun 21 and 23.

The Jun 21 announcement reported the illness in a 41-year-old woman in Riyadh and a 32-year-old Saudi citizen in the country's Eastern region. The woman is a contact of a previous case-patient and was in stable condition, while the 32-year-old had cancer and was in an intensive care unit. The statement also noted the death of a previously reported patient but gave no details.

The MOH's Jun 23 statement announced the six asymptomatic cases and one symptomatic one. Four of the silent cases were in children between the ages of 7 and 15, all of whom had contact with other cases in Riyadh and the Eastern region.

The other two symptom-free cases involved female healthcare workers (HCWs in the Eastern region and Al-Ahsa. The MOH did not specify if the two HCWs were exposed to MERS patients, but it seemed likely, since Al-Ahsa was the site of recent hospital outbreaks.

The Jun 23 statement also cited a case in a 50-year-old woman in the Eastern region who was hospitalized with "pulmonary disease" and was listed in stable condition. In addition, the statement reported the death of the 32-year-old cancer patient whose case was announced on Jun 21.

On Jun 22 the WHO weighed in by recognizing four cases that Saudi Arabia had announced 2 days earlier. These involved a 43-year-old woman in the Eastern region who had already recovered, plus three female HCWs, ages 29, 39, and 45, from Taif governorate, near Mecca.

The three HCWs had cared for two previously confirmed MERS case-patients, and their infections were detected in the course of contact tracing, the WHO said, adding, "Two of these three cases were asymptomatic and all three tested weakly positive by PCR [polymerase chain reaction]."

Only one asymptomatic MERS case has been reported previously, and only unofficially. Recently Jordanian and US health officials reported via the media that eight Jordanians had positive serologic (antibody) tests indicating past MERS-CoV infections, and one of the individuals had not had any symptoms.

They were among 124 people who were tested recently in a retrospective investigation of a hospital outbreak of MERS in Jordan in April 2012, the officials said.

The WHO issued another statement on Jun 23, which noted the two cases reported by the Saudi MOH 2 days earlier, in the 41-year-old woman and 32-year-old man, along with the death of a previous patient.

The WHO statement put the global MERS-CoV count at 70 confirmed cases with 39 deaths. The latest cases and additional death reported in Saudi Arabia appear to raise the global numbers to 77 cases and 40 deaths. Saudi Arabia's tally is 62 cases and 34 deaths.

Cairo meeting

At the Cairo meeting, which ran from Jun 20 to 22, more than 100 public health experts agreed on the need for rapid, detailed reporting of MERS-CoV cases, using consistent methods, according to a WHO EMRO press release.

"At an international level, fast and complete reporting of cases, with contact histories, clinical care and treatment outcomes in as much detail as possible, and collected in a uniform manner across countries, is necessary for the international public health community to be able to build up a picture of what works and what doesn't in combatting this virus," the statement said.

Ala Alwan, MD, EMRO director, said that using the same tools and protocols will facilitate the most effective pooling of information and resources. "This meeting has taken us an important step in that direction," he added.

Keiji Fukuda, MD, the WHO's assistant director-general for health security and the environment, called for urgent action: "At the moment we have an important window where cases have still been relatively few and human transmission is relatively limited. We need to exploit this chance to agree and implement the best public health measures possible across the board for, in so doing, we stand the best chance of controlling this virus before it spreads further."

Officials at the meeting agreed that every country should enhance surveillance for severe acute respiratory illness and "urgently investigate any cluster of pneumonia with unusual clinical presentations, or any immune-compromised patient or healthcare worker with any unusual sign of acute respiratory infection," the release said. Also, countries "should share data with the WHO and report any confirmed and probable cases of MERS-CoV within 24 hours of classification."

Countries represented at the meeting included all those that have had MERS cases and all nations in the WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Region.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on July 02, 2013, 11:51:56 am
Solving a Viral Mystery

Experts Scramble to Trace the Emergence of MERS

As the scientists peered into the darkness, their headlamps revealed an eerie sight. Hundreds of eyes glinted back at them from the walls and ceiling. They had discovered, in a crumbling, long-abandoned village half-buried in sand near a remote town in southwestern Saudi Arabia, a roosting spot for bats.

It was an ideal place to set up traps.

The search for bats is part of an investigation into a deadly new viral disease that has drawn scientists from around the world to Saudi Arabia. The virus, first detected there last year, is known to have infected at least 77 people, killing 40 of them, in eight countries. The illness, called MERS, for Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, is caused by a coronavirus, a relative of the virus that caused SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which originated in China and caused an international outbreak in 2003 that infected at least 8,000 people and killed nearly 800.

As the case count climbs, critical questions about MERS remain unanswered. Scientists do not know where it came from, where the virus exists in nature, why it has appeared now, how people are being exposed to it, or whether it is becoming more contagious and could erupt into a much larger outbreak, as SARS did. The disease almost certainly originated with one or more people contracting the virus from animals — probably bats — but scientists do not know how many times that kind of spillover to humans has occurred, or how likely it is to keep happening.

There is urgency to the hunt for answers. Half the known cases have been fatal, though the real death rate is probably lower, because there almost certainly have been mild cases that have gone undetected. But the virus still worries health experts, because it can cause such severe disease and has shown an alarming ability to spread among patients in a hospital. It causes flulike symptoms that can progress to severe pneumonia.

The disease is a chilling example of what health experts call emerging infections, caused by viruses or other organisms that suddenly find their way into humans. Many of those diseases are “zoonotic,” meaning they are normally harbored by animals but somehow manage to jump species.

“As the population continues to grow, we’re bumping up against wildlife, and they happen to carry some nasty viruses we’ve never seen before,” said Peter Daszak, a disease ecologist and the president of EcoHealth Alliance, a scientific group that studies links between human health, the health of wild and domestic animals, and the environment.

Saudi Arabia has had the most patients so far (62), but cases have also originated in Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Travelers from the Arabian peninsula have taken the disease to Britain, France, Italy and Tunisia, and have infected a few people in those countries. Health experts are also worried about the Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage that will draw millions of visitors to Saudi Arabia in October.

MERS has not reached the United States, but health officials have told doctors to be on the lookout for patients who get sick soon after visiting the Middle East. So far, more than 40 people in 20 states have been tested, all with negative results, according to Dr. Anne Schuchat, the director of the National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The illness can be spread by coughs and sneezes, or contaminated surfaces, and people with chronic diseases seem especially vulnerable. More men than women have fallen ill, possibly because women have been protected by their veils. A cluster of cases that began in a Saudi hospital in April ultimately involved 23 people, including several family members and health workers. One man infected seven people, each of whom spread the disease to at least one other person.

Regardless of where they emerge, new illnesses are just “a plane ride away,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the C.D.C.

And while MERS is not highly contagious like the flu, he said, “the likelihood of spread is not small.”

Ailing Patients Most Vulnerable

 In May, Saudi health officials asked an international team of doctors to help investigate the hospital cluster. One concern was that a number of cases were in patients at a dialysis clinic, and doctors feared that dialysis machines or solutions might be spreading the disease.

“It was pretty easy to figure out that couldn’t have been the case,” said a member of the team, Dr. Connie S. Price, the chief of infectious diseases at Denver Health Medical Center.

The patients’ records did not point to dialysis as the culprit, she said, and there were clear cases of transmission in other parts of the hospital that had no connection to dialysis.

Why, then, the outbreak among dialysis patients? The answer seems to be that they were older, chronically ill and often diabetic; diabetes can suppress the immune system’s ability to fight off infections. So, when one dialysis patient contracted MERS, others who happened to be in the clinic at the same were easy targets for the virus.

“Introducing it into a dialysis center gives it the perfect environment to spread among vulnerable patients sitting in open bays for many hours,” Dr. Price said.

Some health experts have suggested that MERS, like SARS, may fade away. The SARS outbreak erupted in early 2003, but ended by that summer. Much of the success was attributed to infection control in hospitals and also to eliminating animals like civet cats, which were thought to have caught the virus from bats and to be infecting people in markets where the civets were being sold live to be killed and eaten.

But Dr. Allison McGeer, a microbiologist and infectious disease specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto who is also part of the team that studied the Saudi hospital outbreak, said there were no signs that MERS was going away.

“Absolutely not,” she said. “There are ongoing cases of disease acquired in the community. The first we know about is April 2012 in Jordan. There has been a steady and continuing number of cases.”

The fact that the disease has apparently emerged in geographically disparate places, with widely scattered cases in four Middle Eastern countries, also makes Dr. McGeer doubt that it is simply going to fizzle out.

Finding out where in the environment the disease is coming from might make it possible to tell people how to avoid it. Bats are the leading suspect, because they are a reservoir of SARS and carry other coronaviruses with genetic similarities to the MERS virus. Bats could be transmitting the disease directly to people, or they might be spreading it to some other animal that then infects humans. But what kind of bat? There are 1,200 species; 20 to 30 have been identified in Saudi Arabia.

Last October, to test the theory, a team of scientists from the Saudi Ministry of Health, Columbia University and EcoHealth Alliance began scouring Saudi towns near where cases of MERS had been reported, showing people pictures of bats and asking if they had seen any. They struck pay dirt when one man led them to an abandoned village in the southwest, said to be hundreds of years old. It was there, in the inky darkness, that they found a small room that had become the roost of about 500 bats.

The scientists set up nets to catch them when they flew out at dusk to hunt insects, then spent the night testing them for the MERS virus. The bats were let go after the testing.

The animals can weigh as little as four grams (one-seventh of an ounce), and a bat that size may have an eight-inch wingspan.

“They’re mostly wing,” said Kevin J. Olival, a disease ecologist with EcoHealth Alliance. “They’re little flying fur balls.”

It takes about 15 minutes to process a bat — to weigh and measure it, swab it for saliva and feces samples, and collect some blood and a tiny plug of skin from a wing for DNA testing to confirm its species. The specimens were then frozen and sent to the laboratory of Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, a leading expert on viruses at Columbia.

Bats do not much appreciate all this medical attention. They bite, and in addition to potentially carrying MERS, they may harbor rabies and other viruses.

“You’re wearing coveralls that cover everything — hoods, gloves, respirators, booties,” Dr. Lipkin said. “You’re all dressed, so you don’t have any contact with the animals. It’s night, but still very hot.”

Hundreds of bats have been tested, he said, but it is too soon to disclose the results.

From Animals to Humans

 The team has also tested camels, goats, sheep and cats, which might act as intermediate hosts, picking up the virus from bats and then infecting people. One reason for suspecting camels is that a MERS patient from the United Arab Emirates had been around a sick camel shortly before falling ill. But that animal was not tested.

“If animals are acting as a reservoir, getting people sick, how would this happen?” asked Dr. Jonathan H. Epstein, a veterinary epidemiologist with EcoHealth Alliance.

If animals harbor the virus, does it make them ill? Do they infect people by coughing? Or do they pass the virus in urine or feces, and infect people who clean their stalls? The answers do not come easily.

“Camels are tough, let me tell you,” said Dr. Epstein. “They’re ornery. It takes a certain kind of person to be able to wrangle a camel. They’re strong, they’re fast, they bite really hard.”

The trick, he said, is to get the camel into a position that veterinarians call “ventral recumbency,” or lying on its belly. A very feisty camel may also have its legs tied together so it cannot run away or kick anybody. Then someone steadies its head, maybe with a harness, and holds its jaws open so a vet can reach in and out quickly with a cotton swab.

“They have a pretty big mouth,” Dr. Epstein said. “You try not to get bitten.”

So far, he said, “none of the animals we looked at were overtly sick.”

But Dr. Lipkin noted that the virus tests on livestock samples were not complete. Any specimens from such animals from other countries are considered a threat to agriculture in the United States because they could carry foot-and-mouth disease or other pathogens, and have to be screened first by the Agriculture Department before being released to research labs.

Testing may identify animal species that carry the virus, but that will not immediately explain why it has emerged now.

“The most common reason that wildlife viruses make the jump into people is that we do things that bring us and our livestock into closer contact with wildlife, such as the wildlife trade or agricultural intensification,” Dr. Epstein said.

And, said his colleague Dr. Olival, finding the animals that carry the disease is “not just an academic exercise.”

“It’s a way to inform public health measures,” he said, “to try to stop zoonotic diseases before they emerge into humans.”


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on July 04, 2013, 05:53:43 am
Sars-like illness kills man in London

Qatari man who was transferred to UK by air ambulance last September had Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus

A man infected with a Sars-like respiratory illness has died in London, officials said.

The Qatari man, who was being treated in an intensive care unit at St Thomas's hospital in central London, had contracted the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus – or Mers-CoV.

Hospital officials said that the man, who was 49 when he was admitted, died after his condition deteriorated.

The patient, who was suffering from acute respiratory syndrome and renal failure, was admitted to an intensive care unit in Doha, Qatar, on 7 September last year. The man, who has not been named by officials, was transferred to the UK by air ambulance on 11 September. Before he became ill he had travelled to Saudi Arabia, officials said.

Despite doctors' efforts to keep him alive, including connecting him to an artificial lung, he died on Friday last week.

A hospital spokeswoman said: "Guy's and St Thomas's can confirm that the patient with severe respiratory illness due to novel coronavirus  … sadly died on Friday 28 June, after his condition deteriorated despite every effort and full supportive treatment."

In May, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that Mers-CoV - is a "threat to the entire world" and experts have raised concerns that the disease is "emerging faster than our understanding".

Latest figures from the WHO, published before the latest UK death, show that since September last year there have been 77 laboratory confirmed cases across nine countries, which have resulted in 40 deaths.

British health officials have been advised to be vigilant for severe unexplained respiratory illness in anyone who has recently travelled in the Middle East, as well as any unexplained clusters of such illness.

Coronaviruses cause most common colds but can also cause Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome). In 2003, hundreds of people died after a Sars outbreak in Asia.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark on July 05, 2013, 02:42:04 pm
WHO announces emergency committee to plan MERS virus response

A senior World Health Organization official announced that the United Nations agency would convene an emergency committee to plan for a possible escalation in illnesses caused by the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, or MERS-CoV.

Dr. Keiji Fukuda, assistant director general for health security and the environment, told reporters Friday that the names of the disease experts on the team would be revealed Monday. He characterized the move as a precautionary measure.
“We are not in the midst of any acute event right now,” he said. “But it is a good time to…do whatever we can do to be as ready as possible.”

The WHO announcement comes as scientists and public health officials continue to scratch their heads over the 79 confirmed illnesses and 42 deaths thus far caused by MERS. Researchers think MERS originates in an animal host, but they're not sure what one. They also do not yet understand exactly how it spreads, how it infects its victims or if there are many people infected with the virus who do not get sick from it.
“Because we have gaps in that kind of information, it makes it very hard to peer into the future and make any predictions,” Fukuda said. "So...we really want to be in a position to be ready for any possibility."
With that in mind, he added, the committee will review what’s known about the deadly virus, assess whether the outbreak constitutes a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” — a situation that might require immediate, coordinated international action — and advise the WHO on any additional temporary recommendations that might also be needed.
The rules that govern the establishment of the group, known as the International Health Regulations, came into force in 2007 — in the aftermath of the SARS epidemic, an illness caused by another coronavirus, which sickened more than 8,400 people around the world and killed more than 800. The WHO set up its first emergency committee during 2009's H1N1 swine flu pandemic. Friday’s announcement marks the second time such a group has been assembled.
The committee will convene by phone Tuesday. Fukuda said it was possible the team would issue recommendations quickly, but that he thought the first days would be focused mainly on understanding the outbreak more thoroughly.
During the news conference, Fukuda answered several questions from reporters concerning the upcoming Umrah and Hajj pilgrimages, which are expected to bring millions of people to Saudi Arabia -- the center of the outbreak.
Fukuda said that so far, given the relatively sporadic spread of MERS, the WHO was not recommending that Saudi Arabia or other countries "slow travel or disrupt travel right now." But he confirmed that officials were concerned about what might happen if vast crowds move through the region.  “I think it’s fair to say that a lot of our attention is really focused on the countries sending in pilgrims, and then the countries in the Middle East,” he said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention activated its own committee to focus on MERS response in early June (for more on that agency’s efforts, see the related story “War on MERS,” at left.)


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark 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.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark 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.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark 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.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark 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.   


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark 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.   


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus death reported
Post by: Mark 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.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus/SARS/MERS
Post by: Mark 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.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus/SARS/MERS
Post by: Mark 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.   


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus/SARS/MERS
Post by: Mark on April 26, 2014, 08:47:58 am
Egypt announces 1st case of SARS-like novel coronavirus in country - state TV via @Reuters

Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus/SARS/MERS
Post by: Mark 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.   


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus/SARS/MERS
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on May 02, 2014, 03:39:18 pm
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.

Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus/SARS/MERS
Post by: Mark 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

Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus/SARS/MERS
Post by: Mark 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.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus/SARS/MERS
Post by: Mark 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

Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus/SARS/MERS
Post by: Mark 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.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus/SARS/MERS
Post by: Mark 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.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus/SARS/MERS
Post by: Mark 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

Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus/SARS/MERS
Post by: Mark on May 14, 2014, 02:40:51 pm
Saudi Arabia announces 5 new MERS deaths - @AFP

Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus/SARS/MERS
Post by: Mark on May 17, 2014, 03:09:52 pm
Illinois resident tests positive for MERS after coming in contact with Indiana patient, CDC says - @nbcchicago

Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus/SARS/MERS
Post by: Mark 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. 


CDC ConfirmsThird Case of MERS Virus in the US


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.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus/SARS/MERS
Post by: Mark 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.


Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus/SARS/MERS
Post by: Mark 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

Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus/SARS/MERS
Post by: Psalm 51:17 on June 08, 2014, 10:38:23 pm
2 Utahns tracked after coming in contact with deadly MERS virus

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.

Title: Re: WHO issues guidance on new virus, coronavirus/SARS/MERS
Post by: Mark 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