News / Health

Global Concern Grows About Deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

Global Concern Grows About Deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndromei
X
June 03, 2013 6:18 PM
The World Health Organization says [as of June 2] that since September 2012 there have been 53 laboratory-confirmed cases [http://www.who.int/csr/disease/coronavirus_infections/en/index.html] of infection with a new virus called the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome known as MERS-CoV, and 30 of the people infected with the disease have died. All those who have come down with MERS-CoV had a direct or indirect connection to the Middle East, but VOA’s Brian Padden reports that there is growing concern that the virus could spread quickly and threaten the entire world.

Global Concern Grows About Deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

TEXT SIZE - +
Brian Padden
— The World Health Organization says [as of June 2] that since September 2012 there have been 53 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with a new virus called the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome known as MERS-CoV, and 30 of the people infected with the disease have died. All those who have come down with MERS-CoV had a direct or indirect connection to the Middle East, but there is growing concern that the virus could spread quickly and threaten the entire world.

The new Middle East Respiratory Syndrome strain was diagnosed in Saudi Arabia last year. It is a coronavirus, the same viral family that triggered the outbreak of SARS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, that killed 775 people in 2003. At first, the symptoms can seem like a severe stomach virus accompanied by breathing problems. The illness can lead to pneumonia and kidney failure.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said they do not yet know how the virus is transmitted to people.

"We are assuming that they are being exposed inadvertently to an infected animal. The characteristics are that it doesn't spread well at all from person to person, so it doesn't have what's called sustained transmissibility from you to me, from me to my family, etcetera,'' said Fauci.

Fears of global outbreak

While the number of cases is relatively low so far, Fauci said there is growing concern the deadly virus could mutate and be spread by direct human contact. If that happens, it could spark a global outbreak, something experts fear.  

"When you look at a typical influenza virus, for example seasonal flu, where you have millions and millions of people infected, the mortality is less than one percent, a fraction of a percent. The mortality for this if you do the math is 50 cases and you have 30 deaths, so you are talking about a 60 percent mortality already," said Fauci.

The virus has been found in Middle East countries and isolated cases have been exported to Europe by visitors. But the largest cluster of infections is in Saudi Arabia, home to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina, which draw millions of pilgrims a year. The World Health Organization says it is closely monitoring the situation but is not currently recommending any travel or trade restrictions.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
June 05, 2013 8:40 PM
I remember a lot of people were killed by SARS and we feared about it seriously. Now I desire the vaccine for this infection would be developed ASAP.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid