Why MERS Virus is Terrifying Scientists Throughout the World

Photo Credit: CNN

By Laurie Garrett. The head of the World Health Organization warned the world this week of a new virus, awkwardly dubbed MERS-CoV, found in Saudi Arabia.

“Looking at the overall global situation, my greatest concern right now is the novel coronavirus,” Margaret Chan said, calling it “a threat to the entire world.”

“We understand too little about this virus when viewed against the magnitude of its potential threat,” the director general said in her closing speech to the 66th session of the World Health Assembly. “Any new disease that is emerging faster than our understanding is never under control.

“These are alarm bells and we must respond. The novel coronavirus is not a problem that any single affected country can keep to itself or manage all by itself.” Read more from this story HERE.

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UPDATE: MERS Virus Hits Death Toll Of 33 As New Cases Continue To Plague Middle East

By Samantha Olson. A 21-year-old man from Saudi Arabia has died this week after being placed in intensive care for the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which has brought the worldwide death toll up to 33, according to the World Health Organization.

Three new laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS were announced this week. The Saudi Ministry released a statement, which announced the young man’s death and the two other cases located in Saudi Arabia’s eastern governorate of Al-Ahsa.

All 58 cases of MERS across the globe since September 2012 have been linked to the Middle East and a majority of the disease cases have come from Al-Ahsa. The Saudi Arabia ministry announced the new cases and death only a day after saying it had made progress in its efforts to fight MERS outbreaks.

Researchers from Saudi Arabia and the UK have fully mapped out the genetic series from four infected cases of the MERS virus, according to the health ministry’s statement. Read more from this story HERE.

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2 more cases reported in Italy, total in Europe rises to 11

By WHO/Europe. The Ministry of Health in Italy, through the European Union’s Early Warning Response System, has notified WHO of 2 more laboratory-confirmed cases with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the country.

Both the patients are close contacts of the recent laboratory-confirmed case of a 45-year-old man who had travelled to Jordan. The first patient is a two-year-old girl and the second patient is a 42-year-old woman. All three cases are in stable condition.

The man had returned to Italy on 25 May 2013 with symptoms of cough and fatigue. His condition deteriorated and he was hospitalised on 28 May 2013. Laboratory test was conducted by the influenza reference laboratory of Tuscany and confirmed by the National Center of NHI (Istituto Superiore di sanità). Read more from this story HERE.