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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid