In 2012, the illness now known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS emerged in Saudi Arabia. This is categorized as a viral respiratory condition that is caused by the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus.
These viruses in general are common and often develop in humans. They are usually associated with upper respiratory tract illnesses.
The MERS Coronavirus, however, is different. It is believed to have originated from an animal source.
In fact, it has been found in camels, specifically. This does not prove that these animals are the source of the coronavirus itself. Around the world, researchers are trying to get a better understanding of MERS and how it develops.
The CDC and officials around the world are focusing on this illness and prevention. There have been only 2 cases of MERS in the United States.
Both of these occurred in 2014 and involved healthcare workers who had traveled to the Arabian Peninsula. These victims were treated and later recovered from the illness.
The more that we understand about the illness, the easier it is to treat and prevent.
Studies are going on right now into MERS. Specific topics have to do with MERS-CoV symptoms and how it spreads to others.
There are certain things known about Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus prevention that are helpful. Applying these can help potential victims around the globe.
Causes of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome
This viral respiratory illness has been linked to animal sources. Some studies have shown a connection between camel infections and human infections of MERS.
Definite answers, however, are still being sought by researchers. Symptoms alone are not the only way to determine if this illness is present. Not everyone will develop symptoms.
Most victims do have extreme respiratory symptoms. They may also have colds and a fever. Other symptoms include shortness of breath and coughing. Nausea, diarrhea and kidney failure have been experienced in some cases, as well.
Proper diagnosis is critical to the illness being treated correctly and effectively.
Types of Coronaviruses
MERS falls into the category of coronavirus along with SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. SARS emerged in 2003 and was first discovered in Asia. It then spread to approximately 24 different countries.
Both of these types of coronaviruses have similar symptoms in many instances. This classification of virus was identified in the 1960’s.
Coughing and sneezing are two symptoms that are related to both MERS and SARS. These are extreme illnesses where viruses are concerned. Most people, at some time, will get some type of coronavirus.
Lab testing helps to determine whether these viruses exist and what type you actually have. Visiting a physician when symptoms persist is a good way to address this illness.
Facts and Stats
MERS has killed more than 475 people in the Middle East alone. It went on to affect victims in countries in the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.
According to the CDC, approximately every 3-4 out of 10 cases of this illness results in death.
The two cases of MERS in the United States occurred in 2014. Fortunately they did not result in the death of victims. In 2015, there was an outbreak specifically in Korea.
There is no vaccine yet for MERS. This is why applying preventative approaches is important. These approaches include staying away from sick people and the washing of hands.
Increased lab testing is being done around the world to find out more about this illness and its effects.
How to Prevent MERS from Spreading
Applying mers virus prevention techniques is the best way to stop it from spreading. Touching an infected person’s face or hands could result in the spread of coronaviruses. Hard surfaces touched by infected people could also contaminate others.
Using disinfectant is a good way to protect yourself and others from the spread of this illness.
You should also avoid touching your face and eyes with unwashed hands. This is why the CDC encourages frequent hand washing while traveling in the Middle East. It is important to use soap and to lather at least 20 seconds.
Alcohol hand sanitizers are effective tools to use, as well. Preventative methods are the best defense against this coronavirus.
There is no cure or vaccine that is being used for MERS. The medical industry offers victims treatment through care to relieve related symptoms.
In instances where organs are affected, specialized treatment is necessary. The exact way that this illness is transmitted is not clearly understood. This is one of the reasons why physicians encourage proven preventative measures.
This applies especially to those who could be likely to develop MERS. Those traveling to the Middle East fit into this category. Travelers working or volunteering in medical facilities also may be susceptible.
Proximity to those who are sick and respiratory secretions puts you at risk for contracting the illness.
Some people will get very sick with this coronavirus. Recovery is a possibility in many cases.
Treatment of this condition does not include any specific medications. Physicians and healthcare professionals are prepared to address symptoms of MERS. They can help when there are issues of pain and discomfort.
In instances where vital organs are involved with these symptoms, specialized approaches are necessary.
When traveling, it is important to remember the possible risk of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. These typically involve countries that are in the Arabian Peninsula or those near it.
Learning about alerts from the CDC is helpful to those travelers. Certain preventive measures go a long way in ensuring your health where MERS is concerned. Observing strange symptoms is necessary for those traveling in this part of the world.
Early diagnosis is important for victims and their treatment.
Washing your hands regularly is one of the most effective measures. Along with this it is important to stay away from those who are ill.
This illness has occurred in healthcare environments, so travelers going to these locations should be informed. Those with already weak immune systems are at more of risk for developing MERS.