Hello everyone,

MERS CoV = Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is an illness that affects your respiratory system. It is caused by a type of virus called coronavirus.  Symptoms can be mild to severe. Incubation on average onset of symptoms is 5 – 6 days, lasting 2 – 14 days.

Origin:  A cousin to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).  May be transmitted to human from camels, bats or goats.

Cases:  MERS was first reported as earily as 2012. It has been mostly found in countries in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Yemen.  According to medical research studies, recent reports of MERS have been documented in parts of China, African and few cases in United States.

Causes/Effects: Viral infection of human lungs and airway.

Medical Cure:  There are no cures or a vaccination for MERS.  There are no antibiotics known to treat viral infections such as MERS.

Research:  Much is still being discovered about MERS such as immunosuppression causes related to the increased morality; viral treatments and a possible vaccination are also being research.  Like most viruses, MERS usually have to run its course. Symptoms may be treated under the care of a physician.  Currently laboratory protein specific neutralizing antibody testing in mice is being tested for treatment in humans with MERS.

Diagnosis:  Sputum sample, chest x-ray, blood tests, nasal/throat swab, stool sample and any other tests ordered by physician and Infection Control staff.

Clinical Presentation:  Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) may accompany MERS and also include fever, shortness of beath, usually productive cough, gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases kidney failure and pneumonia.  If MERS infection is spread throughout body, septic shock can occur and death may occur due to the complications of organ failure causing a fatal drop in blood pressure that may be irreversible.  This is more apparent in immunosuppressed older adults and children under 12 years old.

Mortality:  In some cases the symptoms are severe and can lead to death. 4 out of 10 persons reported with MERS have died.  Most had underlying medical condition such as at risk person with cancer, diabetes,chronic heart/ lung disease, weakened immune system, and kidney disease.

Hospital: Isolation/Quarantine:  “Droplet Precaution” with “N95 Mask” appropriate fitting or the respirator “space suit” with patient placed in private negative air flow rooms.  Nurses and physicians will ask about recent travel,  medical history,  and inquire about where, when, who and how one may have been exposed to MERS including foods eaten and any possible exposure.  questions are important

Some Great Preventative Tips:

  •  Good handwashing/hygiene often
  •  Facemask if you must go out in pubic (e.g.doctor’s office, grocery, pharmacy).
  •  No kissing.
  •  Stay away from sick people.
  •  Take care to cover your coughs sneezes in disposable tissue or into the inside of your elbow.
  •  Make sure you are given appropriate vaccinations when traveling out of United States.
  •  Clean your environment with antibacterial and antiviral cleaning products regularly, especially in kitchen and bathroom, and during flu season.
  •  Healthy diet.
  •  Physically fit.
  •  Positive attitude with meditation/prayer.
  •  Stay home and keep children at home if fever greater than 101 degrees F.

Treat Symptoms: Prescriptions and OTC (over the counter) medications such as Advil, certain herbal teas (e.g: green, lemon tea) for your symptoms prescribed by physician. Make certain allergies to medications are mentioned to physician.  Rest to recover.  Fluids to prevent possible dehydration such as water, and a healthy diet.

Question:  Should air travel persons in and out of United States to “hot spots” be checked at an airport medical area for fever and other sympptoms?  Should travelers including flight attendants be given face mask, disposable gloves and education?

Please consult your physician and/or licensed care provider for any questions and concerns.  This article intent is to share information only not to diagnose or for treatment of any medical disease or illness. 

“Live Life Healthier” – The HealthyCross staff.