The Manchester Royal Infirmary in the UK has shut its Accident and Emergency unit after a suspected Middle East Respiratory Syndrome–-MERS–outbreak, today. According to the hospital, two patients are investigated for the condition. This obliged the administration to shut down their emergency department.
A hospital spokesman said: “Both patients have been isolated for ongoing clinical treatment and management of their condition,” a hospital spokesperson said, adding that there was “no significant risk to public health,” the BBC reported.
Details are still emerging.
Some facts about MERS
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), MERS was first reported in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in September 2012. To date, 26 countries have reported infections, including China, Malaysia, the Philippines, the UK, the US and the Republic of Korea from the Western Pacific Region.
“It is possible that further healthcare associated clusters could occur in the Western Pacific Region following an imported case returning from the Middle East, as is currently being observed in the Republic of Korea,” WHO recently said.
What are the symptoms?
The organization recommends increasing efforts to raise awareness of the disease among travellers going to and travelling from affected countries. Typical symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Around 36% of reported patients with the virus have died.
The viral respiratory illness spreads quickly. The last case of MERS infection in the Republic of Korea was confirmed on July 4 2015. Yet, by July 27, there were 186 confirmed cases – most reported in the Republic of Korea, 1 in China – including 36 deaths.
Mostly human-to-human infections
The virus is particularly dangerous for older people, people with a weak immune systems, and those with chronic diseases such as cancer, chronic lung disease and diabetes. Although the majority of human cases of MERS have been attributed to human-to-human infections, camels are also likely to be a major reservoir host for the disease.
Despite the emergency, the virus does not seem to pass easily from person to person unless there is close contact, such as occurs when providing unprotected care to a patient. However, experts highlighted the importance of clustering the virus around health facilities in order to prevent it from circulating in communities. In any given country, continued monitoring for MERS cases is critical.
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