Is the MERS Virus just a Fleeting New Story?

A newly discovered virus has made headlines recently in the news. Called the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), it is a cousin of the better known coronavirus, SARS. Two recent studies have proven that camels are infected by this MERS virus and that humans who contracted the disease also had the exact same version of the virus in their bloodstream. To paraphrase a recent article in the BBC by Matt McGrath: However, the lead author of that report, Dr. Thomas Briese from Columbia Universi...
More

MERS cases Triple in Last Month and a Half

To quote a recent MedPage report by Michael Smith, the total number of cases of the Middle East coronavirus has nearly tripled in the past month and a half, according to the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC). But those cases do not include new cases reported today from Saudi Arabia, which recorded another six patients and three deaths. That brings the nation's own totals to 520 cases with 163 deaths, up nine and three respectively. Also, it does not include the Ill...
More

Second US Case of MERS

Health officials have confirmed a second U.S. case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in Florida this week. Not a native of the states, the victim was visiting from Saudi Arabia. Health officials say this case is unrelated to the other recent one diagnosed in Indiana. "The risk to the public remains very low," said Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, health officials are trying to contact all the passengers on the planes the man took to i...
More

When is the next Pandemic- Could it be MERS?

People ask me as a physician if a new, incurable virus or bacteria could spread across the world, causing a massive pandemic. Unfortunately, I tell them the answer to this question is “When, not if.” The truth is that bacterial and viral pathogens have been around for millions, if not billions of years. While modern antibiotics, on the other hand, have only been around for around for less than a measly hundred years. Plus, with worldwide travel, people not taking their full prescription o...
More