The World Health Organization considers the virus to be a threat to the entire world. The Saudi Arabia health ministry announced Sunday that another three people have died, thus bringing to 47 the total number of fatalities from this virus in the country. Five new cases of infections occurred, including one where a three year old girl got the virus. Saudi Arabia is the country worst hit by MERS.
The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS) was first reported in September 2012 by an Egyptian virologist, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The World Health Organization said last month that the total number of confirmed infections worldwide was 102. Almost half had died. Cases were reported in Jordan, Quatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Germany, UK, France and Italy. Over 80 percent of cases were males. In the right circumstances the spread of the virus could be explosive. Right now there is no vaccine for MERS. A new drug cocktail (of interferon and ribavirin ) seems to reduce the severity of infection in monkeys. The study was considered useful for treating MERS in humans. Researchers must determine what animal is the natural host for the virus.
Most people who got infected developed a severe acute respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath.