South Korea has reported its seventh death from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
- Eight new infections brought the total number of cases to 95 in the largest outbreak outside Saudi Arabia, following the diagnosis of the first patient back on May 20.
- The virus has caused widespread public anxiety and led to a plunge in cinema ticket sales and dwindling attendance at baseball games and other public events.
About Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS):
It is a viral respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (MERS‐CoV) that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
- Typical MERS symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Pneumonia is common, but not always present. Gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhoea, have also been reported.
- Although the majority of human cases of MERS have been attributed to human-to-human infections, camels are likely to be a major reservoir host for MERS-CoV and an animal source of MERS infection in humans. However, the exact role of camels in transmission of the virus and the exact route of transmission are unknown.
- Camels have been shown to have antibodies to MERS-CoV, but the exact source of infection in camels has not been identified.
- The virus does not seem to pass easily from person to person unless there is close contact, such as occurs when providing unprotected care to a patient.
- As of now, there is no vaccine available to prevent it.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.