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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/13/2014 (10 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Deadly virus has killed over 100 people in Saudi Arabia

Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, or MERS has claimed the lives of at least 145 people in Saudi Arabia. Some health official worry this new outbreak could become the new SARS, which spread like wildfire in Asia several years ago. It's become an ongoing concern on this side of the world as well. U.S. health officials have confirmed a second case in the country of MERS.

Saudi Arabia has urged its citizens to wear masks and gloves when dealing with camels so as to avoid spreading MERS.

Saudi Arabia has urged its citizens to wear masks and gloves when dealing with camels so as to avoid spreading MERS.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/13/2014 (10 months ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: MERS, Saudia Arabia, U.S., WHO


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC have identified the patient as a healthcare worker who travelled from Saudi Arabia to Orlando, Florida. MERS causes fever and can cause kidney failure -- but is not considered highly contagious. Said patient has since been isolated in hospital.

The condition is a member of the coronavirus family, which includes the common cold and Sars, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which caused some 800 deaths globally in 2003.

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Health officials say Mers only appears to spread through close contact. There is no known cure.

"This is unwelcome but not unexpected news," CDC director Tom Friden says.

What is known at this time is that the Florida patient is not connected to the first confirmed U.S. case, reported two weeks ago in Indiana. The patients' circumstances are reportedly similar.

A healthcare worker who "works and resides" in Saudi Arabia, the Florida patient took a flight on May 1 from Jeddah to London's Heathrow Airport, then continued on to Boston, Atlanta and finally Orlando.

Passengers on those flights are being contacted "out of an abundance of caution." Officials are directing them to look out for symptoms which include high fever, cough and shortness of breath.

The first confirmed MERS patient, also a healthcare worker in Saudi Arabia, has been released from hospital and is "fully recovered."

Officials report no secondary infections from the Indiana case and genome testing suggested the virus was not changing, despite a growing number of cases reported in Saudi Arabia since March.

According to the World Health Organization, 538 MERS cases have been reported worldwide since 2012, with 145 deaths.

The vast majority of cases have been found in Saudi Arabia, especially among healthcare workers.

Saudi Arabia has urged its citizens to wear masks and gloves when dealing with camels so as to avoid spreading MERS.

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