The Middle East Respiratory Virus (MERS) is a respiratory viral disease found in Saudi Arabia in 2012. The zoonotic virus that causes this disease is a novel coronavirus (MERS-coV). MERS signs include a cough, shortness of breath, and fever. Such signs include influenza, which is not necessarily present, and stomach conditions such as diarrhea. In serious illness, respiratory failure may occur.
There is no clear vaccine or treatment available. As a result, treatment is compassionate and dependent on the patient’s health situation. Since physicians know very little about this illness, diagnosis is more successful than therapy. Those with respiratory failure need mechanical support and ventilation in the intensive care unit. This disease can progress to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and it has a mortality rate of 36% in the infected.
MERS-coV is a zoonotic virus transmitted to humans from animals though the route of transmission is not entirely understood. Human to human transmission does not occur unless there is close contact with infected patients in unprotected care provision. Camels are the major host reservoirs and primary source of infection to humans. The consumption of undercooked or raw like meat and milk carries a high risk of infection. Those with weakened immune systems, the old, and people with chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung disease, have more severe syndrom.
People should practice general precaution measures that include practicing public hygiene. These actions include regular hand washing in farms, barns, or markets where camels and other animals are present. There should be proper processing cooking and pasteurization of animal products before consumption. High-risk individuals should avoid contact with camels or consume undercooked milk and meat. Health facilities should take appropriate measures to reduce transmission from patients to healthcare workers and other patients.
According to the research, scientists do not know much about this virus. Given it has it has significant morbidity and mortality, people should take any necessary precaution. These measures need to include animal screening and treatment, and there should be laws ascertaining owners kill all infected animals to reduce the reservoirs.
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) (2015). World Health Organization. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/mers-cov/en/