Iran Records First Two MERS Virus Cases

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
By Paul Martin

Thomas Carannante
May 27, 2014

The World Health Organization has recorded 635 laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) since its discovery in September of 2012. Iran is the latest country to document its first cases of the virus.

In the past few weeks, the MERS virus has made headlines after it reached the United States, infecting one man in Indiana (who then infected another man in Illinois) and another in Florida. The virus managed to travel across the Atlantic before reaching Iran, which is only a stone toss away from the virus’ host country, Saudi Arabia.

Since its discovery in 2012, MERS has infected over 500 people in Saudi Arabia, killing about 175. Approximately 30% of those infected will die as a result of the disease. On Tuesday, Iranian health officials confirmed the country’s first two cases of MERS and they are concerned due to the recent resurgence of infections in neighboring Saudi Arabia.

“Four suspected cases of new corona virus infection were observed in a family in the province of Kerman. Two of these cases were confirmed in two sisters,” said Mohammad Mahdi Gouya, the director-general of communicable diseases at the Iranian Health Ministry’s Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention, in this Reuters news article. “One of the sisters is in critical condition and the other is currently receiving treatment under special circumstances.”

The virus is slowly making waves as of late, following unprecedented outbreaks in February and March. Saudi Arabian health officials met with the World Health Organization following the initial MERS outbreaks to discuss prevention and treatment options. Drug manufacturers are currently working on a vaccine to help protect the country and region, especially since Ramadan and Hajj could result in a massive spread of the virus.

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