The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that another patient has visited an American hospital after becoming infected with a lethal respiratory virus known as MERS. Although the risk of transmitting this virus is very low, those who may have been exposed are warned to check for any signs and symptoms.

The MERS virus was first recognized in the year 2012 and has been spreading since then. This virus is dangerous because of its high mortality rate. Statistics indicate that there are more than five hundred confirmed cases of patients with MERS virus worldwide. Approximately, one hundred and fifty patients have died due to MERS, out of which the majority of patients were from Saudi Arabia. Even though this is only the second affected patient in the US, Tim Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is notifying people to practice precaution in order to avoid this virus.

What Should You Know About the MERS Virus?  

An immunologist working at Harvard Medical School and Dana-Faber Cancer Institute, Wayne Marasco, is worried since the majority of people have little to no information about the MERS virus. According to professionals, this virus was formerly termed as MERA-CoV since it belongs to the coronavirus family that is linked to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Experts believe that this disease is associated with the exposure to camels. Also, numerous camels in Saudi Arabia are infected with this virus.

A professor and an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, David L. Heymann, says that in order to understand how this virus originated from camels and then  began to affect humans requires thorough research and studies, which have still not been conducted in Saudi Arabia. It has also been found that once this virus attacks a human, it is easily transmitted to other people through close contact. You should be aware of the fact that people affected with this virus usually get flu-like symptoms similarly to pneumonia; however, there are many infected patients who do not get sick. Now, the genuine apprehension is that the MERS virus will mutate in order to become more easily transmitted to other healthy people.

What Preventive Measures Can Be Taken To Avoid the MERS Virus?

The WHO (World Health Organization) and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that there is no particular cure for the treatment of MERS affected patients to this date. But according to experts, it is possible to prevent the disease if appropriate precautions are practiced. People who work in the healthcare industry or those who often travel should be particularly careful regarding their health.

The preventive tips to avoid becoming infected with the MERS virus are:

  • Experts recommend wearing masks when visiting hospitals or other areas that are more likely to have high exposure to MERS virus.
  • Sanitizing your hands more often after visiting populous places such as hospitals, airports, public restrooms, and restaurants should also be done.

Marasco advised people to be cautious regarding the MERS virus, but he also specifies not to overreact to the virus. He further states that he is not very worried about the virus and will not be surprised if there are more cases of people infected with this virus.

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