SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

CDC releases new rapid risk assessment for MERS-CoV

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new rapid risk assessment for the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, which has a total confirmed case count of 130 since September 2012.

The first confirmed case was reported on September 20, 2012. Cases have been reported to the World Health Organization from eight countries and 58 of the 130 cases, or 45 percent, have been fatal.

The CDC said MERS-CoV does not yet constitute an international public health emergency, but is of "serous and great concern."

All of the cases have been directly or indirectly linked to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. Eighteen percent of MERS-CoV cases occurred among healthcare workers, with 21 percent of all infected persons reporting mild or absent symptoms.

No cases have been reported in the United States, but 82 persons across 29 states have recently tested for MER-CoV infection. Evidence of person-to-person transmission was confirmed but appears to be limited.

The most complete clinical case series of infection observed 47 patients - 98 percent had a fever, 83 percent had a cough, 72 percent experience shortness of breath, 26 percent experienced diarrhea and 21 percent experienced vomiting. Researchers also found that 96 percent of all cases observed occurred in persons with one or more chronic medical conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease and heart disease.