SARS-Like MERS Virus Spreads Among Health Care Workers

Saturday, April 19, 2014
By Paul Martin

By GILLIAN MOHNEY
ABCNews.com
April 19, 2014

A sudden uptick in the SARS-like corona virus called MERS-CoV for Middle Eastern Respiratory Coronavirus is partially related to health care workers becoming infected with the disease.

This month the World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed 32 cases of the virus so far, including a cluster of 10 health care workers, all of whom worked with an infected patient who died on April 10. Nearly all the cases were located in the Middle East countries of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Jordan. One case was found in Malaysia.

Of the 32 cases reported this month, 19 were health care workers, according to the WHO.

For the first time, the disease has been found in Asia, after a Malaysian man was found to have contracted it this month. The 54-year-old man was diagnosed with the disease after traveling to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The man traveled for a pilgrimage and during his vacation spent time at a camel farm, where he had camel milk. He died on April 13 and had undisclosed underlying health conditions.

The virus is a respiratory virus in the same family as the deadly SARS virus and common cold. Symptoms can include fever, shortness of breath, pneumonia, diarrhea and in severe cases kidney failure.

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