By Arab News
By Mohammed Rasooldeen
Thirteen patients are being treated for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus (MERS-CoV) in government hospitals. Two days ago, a Saudi female, 30, died of the virus, indirectly infected by a camel.
Since June 2012, there have been 1,667 MERS-CoV cases, which included 680 deaths, in various parts of the Kingdom.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), MERS is a viral respiratory disease that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Approximately 80 percent of human cases have been reported by the Kingdom.
The world body said the clinical spectrum of MERS-CoV infection ranges from no symptoms or mild respiratory symptoms to severe acute respiratory disease and death.
A typical presentation of MERS-CoV is fever, cough and shortness of breath. Pneumonia is a common finding, but not always present. Gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, have also been reported. The virus appears to cause more severe disease in older people, those with chronic conditions such as renal disease, cancer, chronic lung disease and diabetes.
No vaccine or specific treatment is currently available. Treatment is supportive and based on the patient’s clinical condition.
In its report, WHO said: “We know people are infected through contact with infected dromedary camels or infected people. Cases identified outside the Middle East are usually travelers who were infected in the Middle East and then traveled to areas outside the Middle East. On rare occasions, outbreaks have occurred in areas outside the Middle East.”
As a general precaution, anyone visiting farms, markets, barns or other places where dromedary camels and other animals are present should practice general hygiene measures, including regular hand washing before and after touching animals, and should avoid contact with sick animals.
Camel meat and camel milk are nutritious products that can continue to be consumed after pasteurization, cooking or other heat treatments. Animal products that are appropriately processed through cooking or pasteurization are safe for consumption, but should also be handled with care to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods.