Travelers Beware: MERS Virus Circulating in the Middle East
Since May 2014, the MERS Virus has been circulating in the Middle East. Most of the cases have appeared in the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon and Qatar.
However, there have been a few scarce instances of the virus in Syria, Israel, Iraq and Iran.
According to the WHO, there have been 635 cases reported in the Middle East. The virus has been prevalent in the region of Umra and Hajj. Travelers have gotten infected by Health Care Staff, Transportation, Tourist industries and in the Airports.
The WHO advice travelers to show proper hand and respiratory hygiene. They should also avoid uncooked food or food made under unsanitary conditions.
The MERS virus causes acute respiratory illness. The symptoms include fever, coughing, diarrhea, nausea, kidney failure and shortened breaths. Based on the WHO reports, one third of the people who have gotten the virus have died. The CDC still does not know exactly how the virus spreads.
The rest of the cases have appeared on tourist traveling to other countries. In the United States, there have only been two cases reported: one in Indiana and the other in Florida. Though doctors, who treated the MERS patients started showing symptoms. So far the infection remains contained.
The risk of infection in First World countries remains relatively low, due to high sanitary standards. Still, the travel related cases include: United Kingdom, France, Italy, Malaysia, Philippines, Greece, Egypt and the Netherlands.