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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
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 International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
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 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