In science and in health news this week, a MERS outbreak seems to be beginning here in the US.
What is MERS?
MERS is a cousin to the SARS virus and it is very deadly. It was first detected in 2012 in Saudi Arabia, and the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) ?is known to have infected 400 people so far; 111 have died from it. Sixty percent required hospitalization, and it appears that even bats carry this virus.
Very similar to SARS, the symptoms are:
- kidney failure
MERS seems to be different from SARS in that, while SARS infects healthy people in the prime of their life, MERS infects those people who already have frail health. It is mainly fatal to these people and it attacks an already weakened immune system.
What is being done?
Swift action has been taken since this was already anticipated. The director of the CDC, Dr. Tom Frieden, has given assurances about this.
Preparations have been taken since 2012 for this possibility.
There has also been a case reported of a patient from Indiana having this virus and this patient traveled to Chicago. He began experience respiratory problems and reported to the hospital and has been receiving care. He is also reported to be improving since then.
To prevent this virus from contaminating you or your family, here are some measures that you can take.
- frequent hand washing
- avoiding touching the eyes, ears, mouth, or nose
- no sharing drinks
The usual common sense procedures, folks. No need for panic.
Wearing face masks is not necessary to prevent this disease.
ID of Human Antibodies Against MERS.
Since this is a relatively new virus to us and one that little as of yet is known about, there is no vaccine to prevent this. However, there are some antibodies that we possess that do help combat it.
Be on the look out for respiratory problems and make sure that you take care of yourself and your family. Again, common sense measures can be and need to be taken to ensure the best health of you and your family.
I will follow this as it develops and share more with you all as it becomes available.
edited by tw