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MERS - What you need to know ?

Updated on June 12, 2015

SYMPTOMS : Develop between 2 and 14 days after exposure .Most people experience fever, cough and shortness of breath . Complications include pneumonia and kidney failure . About 36% of the people die. Some infected people exhibit mild or no symptoms .

PEOPLE AT RISK : Older people and those with weakened immune systems or pre-existing medical conditions – such as cancer, diabetes and chronic lung ,heart or kidney disease- appear to be at great risk of contracting Mers or having severe case of disease .

SOURCE OF VIRUS : Disease believed to have originated in bats and transmitted to camels in distant past. Strains of Mers corona virus identical to those found in humans have been isolated form camels in several countries including Egypt , Oman , Qatar and Saudi Arabia .

TRANSMISSION : Usually by coughing and sneezing , on droplets of saliva or mucus. Virus does not appear to pass easily from person to person except by close contact , such as providing unprotected care to infected patient . No evidence of sustained human to human spread.

TREATMENT/PREVENTION : No vaccine or antiviral medicine available. Risk of infection can be reduced by good hand and respiratory hygiene . People advised to avoid personal contact with sick people , touching sick animals and consuming raw or under cooked animal products .

DISTRIBUTION OF CASES : More than 85 % of the Mers infections since 2012 have been reported in Saudi Arabia. Most cases elsewhere in world are thought to have been acquired in Middle East and exported outside of region .Outbreak in South Korea is the largest outside Middle East.

Sources : WHO, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention & Gulf News 21.05.2015

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