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Monday, June 03, 2013

New Virus Threat: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

Now in Europe

Mon., June 3, 2013 11:42am (EDT)

Now a virus that has caused respiratory failure and 30 deaths has turned up in Italy.

By Scott Hensley

The World Health Organization 
says lab tests have confirmed the infections in a 2-year-old girl and a 42-year-old woman with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, or MERS-CoV, as it's now called.

Both of the patients, who are in stable condition, are close contacts of someone who traveled to Jordan recently, the WHO says.

Illnesses caused by the virus have originated in Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, WHO says. In France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and the United Kingdom, there have been additional cases seen in people who had traveled in the Middle East or who'd been in close contact with someone who had.

All told, there have been 53 cases where lab tests have showed conclusively that the virus was to blame, WHO says.

recent French report on two cases (one involving a man who had traveled to Dubai and the other in a man who shared his hospital room) indicates that the incubation period for the virus may be as long as nine to 12 days, rather than one to nine days. That suggests that any quarantine of infected people may have to be prolonged to limit the spread of the virus.

The MERS virus - the newly coined acronym is short for Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome - first came to the world's attention last September, though retrospective testing dates the earliest known cases to a hospital outbreak in Jordan in April 2012.


The novel coronavirus: 9 things you should know about MERS

The World Health Organization is calling it “a threat to the entire world.” And with good reason: the new SARS-like virus, named MERS-CoV, has now seeped into a handful of European nations, with 51 lab-confirmed cases, and 30 deaths. 

Continue reading

Its deadliness lies in its mystery

On May 27, the Who director-general Margaret Chain called MERS a “threat to the whole world” because of too many unknown variables. She called it her “greatest concern” in the world’s health situation.

“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,” she said.

TORONTO – The World Health Organization is calling it “a threat to the entire world.”
And with good reason: the new SARS-like virus, named MERS-CoV, has now seeped into a handful of European nations, with 51 lab-confirmed cases, and 30 deaths.
It’s been over a year since the first few cases of the disease were identified in Amman, Jordan. In the past few weeks, it’s gained in speed: over the weekend, three more people died from the new respiratory virus.

The coronavirus can transmit from person to person

While it’s unclear how the virus is spreading from person to person, experts say the clusters of family members spreading the virus confirm that human-to-human transmission exists.

Global News takes a look at the novel coronavirus that has scientists anxiously watching its next move.

The first cases appeared in Jordan and Saudi Arabia

In April 2012, the first cluster of two cases – both fatal – tested positive for the coronavirus in Amman, Jordan. By October 2012, a second cluster that included four family members was identified. In that case, two people died, according to the
Centers for Disease Control.

By October 2010, another family of four was diagnosed with coronavirus. Two people died.

So far, most cases appear to be men between 24 and 94 years old.

Contributing sources:

Here's the coronavirus that appears to have originated in the Middle East and has caused severe illnesses in people living there and in Europe.

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