Cases of MERS Virus Confirmed

Cases of the MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) Virus have been confirmed in Syria, Saudi Arabia and in refugee camps throughout the region according to Ron Osterhaus of the United Medical Center. MERS, a coronavirus, which can be fatal, is accompanied by fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It first surfaced in the Middle East in early 2012.

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(Researcher for the United Medical Center analyzing samples for MERS)

79 deaths have been reported out of 182 cases of MERS in Saudi Arabia and in outlying refugee camps since its discovery. In the neighboring country of Jordan Jordanian officials have reported 2 deaths in these camps, both were children. When asked how they would combat the illness they stated they were working to create a plan, which would include water sanitation to prevent possible spread of the disease and working closely with Lebanon to create more solutions.

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(Jordanian officials reporting on deaths)

 According to a study published Tuesday online in the journal of the American Society for Microbiology, camels are the major sources of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS. Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, the senior author of the study and a virus expert at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York, said it may be possible to develop a vaccine to prevent the disease in camels, but that creating a vaccine for people would not be make sense since MERS is rare amongst humans.

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(Image of the MERS virus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

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