MERS-CoV: Three More Deaths Linked to VirusBy: Lindsay McCane - September 8, 2013
Three more lives have been claimed by the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) , bringing the total deaths from this virus in Saudi Arabia to 47.
On June 2, the director general, Margaret Chan gave a speech to the 66th session of the World Health Assembly informing the world about the serious concern of the new strain of virus. “Looking at the overall global situation, my greatest concern right now is the novel coronavirus.” She went on to call the virus, “a threat to the entire world.” Chan continued saying: “We understand too little about this virus when viewed against the magnitude of its potential threat. Any new disease that is emerging faster than our understanding is never under control. These are alarm bells and we must respond. The novel coronavirus is not a problem that any single affected country can keep to itself or manage all by itself.”
According to the World Health Organization : “Nine countries have now reported cases of human infection with MERS-CoV. Cases have been reported in France, Germany, Italy Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. All cases have had some connection (whether direct or indirect) with the Middle East.”
Saudi Arabia seems to have been the country that has been hit hardest with the virus. Three more fatalities have been confirmed. A 74-year-old man died in the city of Medina after coming into contact with an infected individual. Also in Medina, a 56-year-old woman died and in Riyadh, a 53-year-old woman, who had been suffering from chronic diseases, also died.
How can you detect MERS, what are the symptoms, and how deadly is it? The WHO has the answers to these questions: “Common symptoms are acute, serious respiratory illness with fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Most patients have had pneumonia. Many have also had gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhoea. Some patients have had kidney failure. About half of people infected with MERS-CoV have died. In people with immune deficiencies, the disease may have an atypical presentation. It is important to note that the current understanding of illness caused by this infection is based on a limited number of cases and may change as we learn more about the virus.”
The Minister of Health released a statement urging citizens to follow the guidelines to avoid contracting the virus. “We call upon everyone to abide by following the public guidelines, namely personal hygiene, washing hands, and staying away from the injured; in order to prevent flu viruses. MOH will inform you with any developments. Peace be upon you, and blessings and mercy of Allah.”
Image via Wikimedia Commons