The number of MERS cases is increasing. The number has risen from 575 to 688 in the worst afflicted country, Saudi Arabia, and continues to show up in pockets in areas of the world less affected, including Algeria and the United States. As of June 4, WHO reported 681 laboratory-confirmed MERS cases and 204 deaths from the disease.
Professional health care experts assure that, at this point, the general public does not need to worry about the illness. If you have traveled to the Middle East, where the disease is rampant, you are much more likely to contract the disease, which is spread person-to-person. The symptoms are flu-like, including fever, cough, shortness of breath. Those thought to have contracted the virus are put in negative-pressure rooms and masked immediately in order to prevent further outbreak.
Recent findings have discovered the virus’ possible origins: camel milk. Drinking camel milk is a widespread tradition in the Middle East, and the Qatari government is urging everyone to boil the milk before consumption.
Hospital breaches have also contributed to MERS’ spread. Saudi Arabia in particular has been highly criticized for its lack of proper care in hospitals, which allowed the virus to further spread. The Saudi health ministry has put in more strict measures, and WHO has been “diligently” following up on reports of the disease.
Until then, the virus continues to increase in the Middle East. With a 30% mortality rate, the disease is spreading rapidly in other, more malnourished parts of the world. While there is still not a vaccine for the virus, the CDC has released prevention methods against contracting the disease, including washing your hands with soap and water often, covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and/or sneeze, avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and avoiding intimate contact with sick persons.
– Nick Magnanti