Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was first reported in
Saudi Arabia in 2012 and has since become a concern in South
Korea, where at least 20 deaths have been confirmed. Cases of
MERS have also been reported recently in the Philippines,
China and Thailand.
Clinic infectious diseases specialist Pritish Tosh, M.D., says
MERS is caused by a corononavirus that originated in camels
and then spread to humans. "Coronaviruses include things
that cause the common cold but also cause severe respiratory
illnesses. Right now the virus doesn’t transmit very
efficiently between people and so it really takes pretty close
contact, usually in somebody who is very sick, in order to
says elderly people or those with an underlying health
concerns are most vulnerable and adds there is no cure for
MERS but with supportive treatment, most have recovered. The
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says so far,
all cases of MERS have been linked to countries in and near
the Arabian Peninsula. The CDC has instructed doctors and
other health care workers to collect a travel history of
patients and consider the possibility of a MERS infection for
certain patients. Dr. Tosh says measure are being taken to
contain the spread of this virus.
infected patients report severe acute respiratory illness with
symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath.
reduce your risk of contracting a virus:
Vigorously wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or
sneeze. Throw used tissues in the trash immediately, and then
wash your hands carefully.
Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs.
Avoid touching your face, mouth and nose with unwashed hands.
share cups, utensils or other items with sick people.
there are no MERS-related travel restrictions, but visit the
CDC website for the latest information and click here to learn
about any new outbreaks.