The deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has been spreading in Asia and some countries in Europe. The first MERS-CoV patient has already been diagnosed in Thailand. With the paranoia which surrounds this syndrome, it is important for everyone to be well-informed. Here is some information to help you understand the virus, stay safe, and get medical help if necessary.
What is MERS-CoV?
The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus is an illness caused by a virus called coronavirus. The illness affects the respiratory system, especially the lung tissue and airways. This new form of the virus was first discovered in Saudi Arabia in 2012 before spreading to neighboring countries such as France, Italy, Jordan, Tunisia and Qatar. The first MERS-CoV patient in Thailand was a man who had just returned from a trip to Oman. At first, almost 60-70 percent of all MERS-CoV patients had died, but the percentage has now decreased to twenty to thirty percent. However, the virus still remains highly contagious and may be dangerous, especially in large groups.
What are the symptoms?
The MERS-CoV virus takes up to 10-14 days to reveal itself. Most people suffering from MERS-CoV display these three severe symptoms:
When the condition becomes severe, patients can start lacking oxygen and begin suffering from Severe Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). In some cases, patients also display gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. There are also patients who experience kidney failure.
Am I at risk?
There are many factors which can put a person at risk for MERS-CoV. If you fall into any of these categories, make sure you see a doctor immediately:
What precautions can I take?
There is currently no vaccine for MERS-CoV. Therefore, it is important for everyone to take these following precautions:
M.D., Faculty of Medicine, Mahidol University, 1997. Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University , 1997