5 Things You Should Know About MERS, The Deadly Virus That’s Now Breaking Out In Saudi Arabia

Thursday, April 24, 2014
By Paul Martin

Lauren F Friedman
BusinessInsider.com
Apr. 24, 2014

A new spike in cases of a deadly respiratory virus, in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, is prompting new fears of an outbreak when the area’s population spikes during the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

The syndrome, called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), is caused by a relatively new-to-humans virus that’s a close cousin of SARS, a virus that infected thousands of people worldwide in 2002-2004.

Millions of Muslims from around the world make pilgrimages to Mecca, and reports yesterday of the first confirmed case in the holy city raised concerns that MERS could spin out from the Middle East and spread more widely as people move into and out of the city.

Saudi Arabia has already sacked its health minister, a move that was widely interpreted as a response to his mismanagement of the growing outbreak.

Here’s what you need to know about MERS, which currently has no vaccine and no cure.

1. The recent spike in cases is alarming.

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