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

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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid