Middle East Resp Syndrome  could infect Egyptians: Ministry of Health
Ministry of Health - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) could possibly infect Egyptians after a study proved the virus can be carried by camels, said the Ministry of Health in a Sunday press release.

The World Health Organization says the symptoms of Coronavirus in humans humans “range in severity from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).” MERS-CoV is a new strain of coronavirus that was detected in April 2012, and is fatal is roughly half of known cases; there is no vaccine yet.

On its website, WHO said that exact means of the viruses’ transmission to humans is yet unknown;  some confirmed cases had no direct exposure to animals which were also infected with the virus.

The Egyptian Health Ministry’s release is based on a study conducted by the National Research Center which examined 491samples from June to December 2013. The results of the study indicated that the virus was found in four camels coming from Sudan and Ethiopia, but not in human, cats or bat samples.

MERS-CoV infections have been reported in France, Germany, Italy Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

MERS-CoV’s symptoms include serious respiratory illness with fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, some patients have pneumonia, and others have suffered kidney failure and diarrhea, according to the WHO.

Necessary precautions for the virus are being taken by the Egyptian Health Ministry , according to its release, which noted that a risk assessment report by WHO said that there is no evidence on the virus’ transfer between humans, as studies indicated that the source of transmission is camels and bats.

Additionally, the release added that none of the total 8,465 samples which were examined so far tested positive for MERS-CoV.

“It is not always possible to identify patients with MERS-CoV early because some have mild or unusual symptoms. For this reason, it is important that health-care workers apply standard precautions consistently with all patients – regardless of their diagnosis – in all work practices all the time,” added a report issued April 17 by the WHO.

Medical studies have revealed that camels are one host of the virus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome MERS, said the WHO report.

Furthermore, the report noted that those at high risk “should avoid close contact with animals when visiting farms or barn areas where the virus is known to be potentially circulating.”

The WHO report noted that the MERS Coronavirus has claimed the lives of 93 people of a total 243 confirmed cases of infection since September 2012.

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