Air-borne Mers coronavirus a bigger risk

Thursday, July 24, 2014
By Paul Martin

More and speedier research is needed so that preventive measures can be put into place
July 24, 2014

The news that the Mers coronavirus could potentially be transmitted through air is both disconcerting as well as a promissory of unlocking the secret to its means to travel from one species to another. Since it was identified in 2012, Mers has taken a significant human toll, particularly in Saudi Arabia, which has had the maximum number of deaths caused by the virus so far. Previously, it was largely held that Mers coronavirus spread through contact transmission, which presupposed that its spread could be better controlled. But with the latest suggestion that this virus can also travel by air, many urgencies come to the fore.

More and speedier research is needed to arrive at an unambiguous conclusion so that preventive measures can be put into place. Air-borne diseases are much more difficult to contain than diseases that spread through other modes of transmission and the high degree of porosity of people’s movements in today’s world creates a bigger challenge against Mers. As such, the world health authorities and health care systems need to prepare contingencies that can be made a part of people’s everyday precautions. Experts say prevention is the key. Therefore, the sooner conclusive research comes to our aid, the better we can deal with its scope and modus operandi.

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