MERS Virus Causing Global Health Scare

MERS virusLast year in Saudi Arabia, the world was astounded to hear about news of a new strain of deadly virus, the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) virus. This year, British and Saudi scientists have collaborated to shed some light on this new health concern and performed the widest probe yet and found out that people with existing medical conditions, males, and older patients are at higher risk. They looked at the disease’s progression and symptoms among 47 patients, 36 of which are men, admitted at Saudi hospitals. Major symptoms that most patients shared are: shortness of breath, coughing, and having a fever. Few others experienced gastrointestinal symptoms, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Scientists also noted that MERS have almost the same characteristics as that of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which really caused a global scare, years ago. The two coronaviruses also have the same incubation period. However, scientists pointed out the difference between the two viruses. MERS is more likely five days faster to cause respiratory failure than SARS does.

Moreover, SARS patients were usually relatively young and healthy while MERS seemed to affect those already suffering from chronic conditions and older patients. 45 of the 47 MERS patients were already suffering from medical conditions like high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, etc. Out of these 47 MERS patients, 28 already died accounting a 60% fatality rate which makes it even deadlier than SARS.

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