MERS Virus: Iran Confirms First Two Cases

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The MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) virus, which has been responsible for over 175 deaths in Saudi Arabia, has now been confirmed in Iran.

Yesterday, Iranian officials explained that the first two cases of MERS virus in Iran had been confirmed.

"Four suspected cases of new corona virus infection were observed in a family in the province of Kerman," Mohammad Mahdi Gouya, the director-general of communicable diseases at the Iranian Health Ministry's Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention said on Monday. "Two of these cases were confirmed in two sisters. One of the sisters is in critical condition and the other is currently receiving treatment under special circumstances."

There is currently no vaccine or specific treatment for MERS, which has led to the deaths of nearly 30 percent of its victims. The virus causes extreme symptoms that include: intense coughing, high fevers, flu-like symptoms, organ failure, and deadly bouts of pneumonia.

Scientists have already completed research and determined that camels can carry the virus, and they are currently testing dogs and cats to see if they can as well. “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,” said Thomas Briese of Columbia University.

MERS virus is a virus from the same family as the SARS virus (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which first appeared in China in 2002, and was responsible for the deaths of more than 800 people worldwide. MERS cases have also been confirmed in the United States, Britain and France.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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