Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS- CoV)
This week Saudi Arabia reported significantly more deaths from the MERS virus
About five weeks ago, Saudi Arabia was reporting 339 known cases of MERS-CoV, 102 of which had resulted in deaths.
This is out of 688 total cases in the Arab nation; 353 patients have recovered and 53 are still receiving treatment
Last week, the World Health Organization reported it was aware of 636 “laboratory-confirmed cases” of MERS infections, which had led to 193 deaths. It is not immediately clear how Saudi Arabia’s latest figures affect those numbers. There are documented cases of the virus around the world.
Doctors believe they have found the first evidence that a new deadly virus has been transmitted from a camel to people.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found “identical” Mers viruses in camels and their owner.
An analysis of viral samples taken from both the camels and the patient showed that “the full genome sequence from the two isolates was identical”, the report said.
It added: “These data suggest that this fatal case of human Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection was transmitted through close contact with an infected camel.”
“However, as with other studies recently published, the camels were sampled after the human patient was diagnosed, making direction of infection difficult to prove.
“To be definitive, camel herds will need to be prospectively followed and showed to be infected with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus and infectious prior to a documented transmission event to a human.”
As a coronavirus, MERS is in the same group of illnesses as the common cold
But it is much more lethal: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that about 30% of those infected have died.
There is no vaccine or special treatment
Public Health England has released the following posters, which will be displayed at all airports and airlines.