MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome)

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mers• MERS is caused by a novel coronavirus (MERS-CoV). It affects the respiratory system. So far, about 4 out of every 10 patients diagnosed with MERS have died. Countries of and in close proximity to the Arabian Peninsula are the most affected.

• MERS-CoV was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia.

• First classified in the mid 1960s, the human coronavirus subgroups are referred to as alpha, beta, gamma and delta.

Types

There are currently six coronaviruses that can affect humans which include:

Alpha coronaviruses

• Human coronavirus 229E

• Human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63, New Haven coronavirus)

Beta coronaviruses

• Human coronavirus OC43

• Human coronavirus HKU1

• SARS-CoV

• Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

Symptoms

• Fever, body pain, sore throat (early symptoms)

• Chills (Doctors describe it as flu-like illness with signs and symptoms of pneumonia)

• Cough

• Shortness of breath

• Chest pain

• Gastrointestinal symptoms (less common)

• Diarrhoea

• Nausea/vomiting

• Renal (kidney) failure

chart

Who is at risk

• People with chronic lung disease, diabetes and heart conditions

• The elderly

• Organ transplant recipients who are on immunosuppressive medications

• People with weak immune systems, such as cancer patients undergoing treatment

Treatment

There is currently no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment recommended for MERS-CoV infection. Those affected with the illness are advised to seek medical care to help relieve the symptoms

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