SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2018

New research suggests MERS epidemic unlikely

New research suggests MERS cases are unlikely to reach epidemic levels.
New research suggests MERS cases are unlikely to reach epidemic levels. | Contributed photo

Researchers recently concluded new studies on Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and determined that it is unlikely that MERS will become an epidemic.

The team analyzed clinical-outcome reports from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to determine how the Sultanate of Oman is handling cases and how long patients remain contagious.

Most MERS-CoV patients have been hospitalized, lessening the likelihood that the virus will be a pandemic or epidemic.

Health professionals have implemented strict infection-control measures -- such as isolation, hygiene precautions and one-patient-per-room ratios -- to lessen the chance of spreading the disease.

Other studies have shown that MERS-CoV is contagious for a longer period of time than health professionals originally believed. These results reinforce the importance of taking precautions against the disease’s spread.

"These findings highlight the importance of applying infection-control measures in health care facilities where patients with suspected MERS-CoV infection are admitted,” Dr. Ziad Memish, a co-author of the study, said.

The first MERS-CoV case was reported in 2012. It is an emerging virus with a 40 percent mortality rate. More than 97 percent of the cases have been confirmed in the Middle East.

Previous studies show that people over 65 years old who contract MERS-CoV are 4.5 times more likely to die from the disease.

MERS-CoV symptoms include cough, pneumonia, dyspnea and  fever. Most MERS-CoV patients require intensive care to fully recover.

More details are available in the International Journal of Infectious Disease.

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