News / Health

Deadly Virus Surges Through Gulf States

FILE - In this June 8, 2011 file photo, a Yemeni manas he leads his camel loaded with his belongings in Taiz, Yemen. Scientists say the mysterious MERS virus has been infecting camels in Saudi Arabia.
FILE - In this June 8, 2011 file photo, a Yemeni manas he leads his camel loaded with his belongings in Taiz, Yemen. Scientists say the mysterious MERS virus has been infecting camels in Saudi Arabia.
Mohamed Elshinnawi
Saudi Arabia says a deadly virus is rippling through the kingdom as additional cases were reported over the weekend in the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Confirmed cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, have been seen at two major hospitals in the port city of Jeddah.

Saudi health authorities are embarking on a variety of measures to prevent further spread of the 18-month-long outbreak.

“We have detected 11 cases of (the virus) in Jeddah,” said Dr. Abdul Salam Noorwali, director-general of health in the Makkah region, told Arab News last week. “Two of the patients have died, while six others have been cured and three cases are under medication,” he said.​

Three of the patients in Jeddah were health workers, including one of the two who died, prompting authorities to temporarily shut down the emergency ward at the city's King Fahd Hospital, the kingdom's English-language daily reported.

MERS, by demographicMERS, by demographic
x
MERS, by demographic
MERS, by demographic
Sami BaDawood, Jeddah’s health affairs director, told Arab News that the emergency department was closed for disinfection after one health worker there tested positive for the virus and subsequent tests on other staff members showed further infections.

Some patients were transferred to other hospitals while the disinfection was carried out, he said.

The latest figures bring to at least 179 the number of cases of MERS in Saudi Arabia since the virus first appeared in the kingdom in September 2012.

Makkah Governor Prince Mishaal bin Abdullah met with the director-general of health and urged precautionary measures to combat the disease at hospitals and other health facilities, Arab News reported.

“We have to adopt health measures to ensure the safety of citizens and residents from the virus and educate the public on how to protect themselves from MERS,” the English daily quoted him as telling health officials in the region.

Most people infected with MERS develop severe acute respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

The MERS virus is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus that erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died.

The World Health Organization said at the end of March there were 206 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS infection worldwide, of which 86 had been fatal.
In April, WHO says, 15 more cases were confirmed in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

"Basically what MERS does at the end of the day is shutting down the lungs and cause the other organs to fail," Gregory Hartl, a WHO spokesperson in Geneva told VOA. 

"It is spreads from person to person with great difficulty and that is how it is different from SARS," Hartl said. "What we really need doctors to do if they see unusual respiratory illness comes to them in other parts of the world is to be aware that MERS has occurred and they should test for that virus."

Experts are still struggling to understand the disease, for which there is no known vaccine.
 
MERS infections, laboratory-confirmedMERS infections, laboratory-confirmed
x
MERS infections, laboratory-confirmed
MERS infections, laboratory-confirmed
“We don’t know for certain where the virus came from,” said Jason McDonald, spokesperson for U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC). “However, it likely came from an animal source.”

MERS has been found in camels in Qatar and a bat in Saudi Arabia.

Camels in a few neighboring countries have also tested positive for antibodies to MERS, indicating they were previously infected with MERS or a closely related virus.

More information is needed to identify the possible role that camels, bats, and other animals may play in the transmission of MERS.

That is why the CDC is closely monitoring the MERS situation and working with World Health Organization and other partners to understand the risks of this virus. 
The CDC says it recognizes the potential for the virus to spread further and cause more cases and clusters globally, including in the United States.

“As part of routine public health preparedness in the United States, CDC is providing MERS testing kits to state health departments across the U.S. and continues to provide advice and laboratory diagnostic support to countries in the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding region.” McDonald said.

According to CDC, cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Tunisia as well as in several countries in Europe.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dr.Ralph Dirtybottom from: Memphis
April 16, 2014 10:47 AM
Have you noticed increased cases of Alzheimer’s and Autism? The CDC recently admitted that autism numbers have doubled in a decade and more than 5 million Americans have a form of dementia. While there are multiple contributors to these phenomenon, including the increased use of pesticides and herbicides, the decline of real food, and the degradation of our environment as a whole, it is likely chemtrails play a significant part in the cognitive decline of our nation as well. Our politicians, however, refuse to comment on the subject, with the exception of a rogue informant often put swiftly back into his place by mainstream media and their puppeteers. Now, an Italian senator is demanding that important state secrets be declassified so that the world can understand what is really happening in the sky above.

Senator Domenico Scilipoti is not a champion for every Italian, often accused of taking party sides wherever it will benefit him personally, but he is aiming to abolish the classification of documents regarding the death of Ilaria Alpi, an Italian journalist killed in 1994 after she discovered radioactive toxic waste was being shipped to Somalia. There is a free documentary people can watch here, but it is not allowed in the US. Quite some censorship. Why?


by: David from: USA
April 15, 2014 2:32 PM
Maybe it can be stopped... http://vaccinenewsdaily.com/vaccine_development/325407-novavax-creates-mers-cov-vaccine-candidate/


by: ARZ
April 14, 2014 7:17 PM
Please edit the title: 'Persian Gulf' is correct. It has been called 'Persian Gulf' for thousands of years.


by: David Josef from: USA
April 14, 2014 7:05 PM
Where is Arab Gulf? Does it exist on the map or you did a mistake?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid