Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

(Photo Credit: Lancet)

It’s in the news!

“The death toll from SARS-like MERS-CoV infection reaches 32 today as Saudi Arabia announces four more fatalities.

So far, worldwide 37 people have died of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) since September 2012, says the World Health Organization.”

Source:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262049.php

New cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus  or MERS-CoV  were disclosed as truly alarming.  As its name implies, it’s a respiratory concern which was observed in the Middle east and was initially characterized by an Egyptian virologist/professor by the name of Ali Mohamed Zaki in 2012.

The MERS-CoV, which is sometimes referred to as nCoV (novel coronavirus), was first reported on  Pro-Med-mail  on 24 September 2012 by Prof Ali Mohamed Zaki wherein it involved a 60-year old male who was suspected to have viral pneumonia.

It was the said professor who conducted the usual respiratory viral tests which yielded negative results.   Baffled with the outcome of the tests, he proceeded to send a sample to Erasmus Medical Centre in The Netherlands so that the virus hunters could conduct more study and research.

Members of the subfamily Coronavirinae that infect humans currently include the respiratory coronaviruses HCoV-OC43 (a betaCoV), HCoV-229E (alphaCoV), HCoV-NL63 (alphaCoV), SARS-CoV (betaCoV), MERS-CoV and HCoV-HKU1 (both betaCoV).  The mere names could cause goose bumps!

MERS-CoV is the sixth new type of coronavirus like  SARS or  Severe acute respiratory syndrome; another type of coronavirus which spread around the globe in the year 2003, killing more or less 800 people. However, MERS-CoV is  distinct from SARS and from the common-cold coronavirus although it had been frequently referred to as a SARS-like virus, or the novel coronavirus. Others have named it  as “Saudi SARS,”  until new research  identified relevant differences with MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV.

MERS-CoV is a new coronavirus strain, yes;  like SARS, it causes respiratory illnesses in mammals including us, humans.  But worse than SARS, MERS-CoV may lead to a serious risk of rapid kidney failure.   Let’s wait for further updates regarding this coronavirus.

For the meantime, let us pay more attention to bouts of coughing, fever as well as breathing problems.   Do not self-medicate yourself or members of your family as there might be a serious lung infection which is in need of immediate medical attention.  With such symptoms, we can only rest assure when we have been properly assessed and diagnosed.   Let us be knowledgeable of what’s in the health and medical news.  After all, our health is our wealth!