Communicable Disease: MERS Outbreak
In September of 2012, beginning in the country of Saudi Arabia, hospitals began seeing increased cases of a respiratory virus never before seen in humans. They named it Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS. MERS is a viral respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. It was originally thought to have started there in Saudi Arabia. It was not until later that they were able to trace the origin back to Jordan starting in April of 2012. All outbreaks of MERS have been traced back to originating from the Arabian Peninsula (CDC, 2015a). Unfortunately, it is not known exactly how MERS was contracted in humans, but it is believed to have come from an ...view middle of the document...
That same month Germany had a case in a traveler from Qatar. In February 2013, Britain revealed two more cases. These two persons were infected from a family member who had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia. March of 2013 a man from United Arab Emirates died from MERS in a German hospital. It was discovered that that man had racing camels. It was at this time that suspicions were raised about camels being a source for MERS. Saudi Arabia had another outbreak in May 2013 at a hospital in Al Ahsa. In May 2014, Saudi Arabia and UAE began reporting increasing numbers of infected cases. That same month, cases were exported to the United States, Greece, Philippines, and Malaysia (The Canadian Press, 2014). The cases continued to spread in 2015.
According to WHO, as of 2015 the following countries had identified MERS cases:
2012- Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Germany, and the UK.
2013- France, Germany, Italy, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, UAE, UK
2014- Algeria, Australia, Egypt, Greece, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Netherlands, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, U.S.A., Yemen
2015- China, Germany, Iran, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, UAE (WHO, 2015).
Route and Risk Factors:
MERS is spread by contact with an infected person or persons. It is a zoonotic disease that is believed to have been spread originally from camels through direct or indirect contact. When spread from person to person, MERS is spread easily to a caregiver of an infected person who is not using proper precautions such as gloves and hand hygiene (CDC, 2015b). MERS is a respiratory virus and is believed to be spread as such, through respiratory droplets, which are spread when a person coughs or sneezes. The exact mechanism of transmission is not fully understood at this time (CDC, 2015c).
The symptoms of MERS include fever, shortness of breath, and cough. Some people also develop nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Often more serious complications can occur, such as kidney failure and/or pneumonia. It has been found that some people who become infected show no symptoms at all, or only mild flu like symptoms. Incubation time is between two to fourteen days, with the most common time for symptoms to show being between days five and six (CDC, 2015d).
Risk factors for this disease include having been exposed to a person known to have MERS. Risk increases if the person exposed has any preexisting conditions that weaken the immune system, such as having diabetes, chronic lung infection, kidney disease, or autoimmune disease. Those persons are also at increased risk for developing a worse, or fatal case of MERS (CDC, 2015d). Additional risk factors include having travelled to or near the Arabian Peninsula, or coming in close contact with someone who has. Travelers should monitor themselves for the following two weeks for any symptoms of a respiratory illness or fever, as well as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, body...