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Wash Your Hands, MERS is On the Prowl

Another person has turned up at an American hospital with the lethal respiratory virus MERS-CoV. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would not identify the man, but said he was a 44-year-old health care worker based in Saudi Arabia, which has been the epicenter of the outbreak.

Transmission electron micrograph of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus. Credit: NIAID

Transmission electron micrograph of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus. Credit: NIAID

The disease has mainly been transmitted through close personal contact (not casual contact) and the public is not believed to be at risk, but warnings have been issued out of extreme caution. It is believed to have initially been transmitted to humans from camels.

Related to SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and the common cold, MERS is a part of the coronavirus family and was first identified in people in 2012. It has been spreading rapidly since March with 538 confirmed cases worldwide, causing 145 deaths.

Colorized transmission electron micrograph showing particles of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus that emerged in 2012. Credit: NIAID

Colorized transmission electron micrograph showing particles of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus that emerged in 2012. Credit: NIAID

Immunologists are working to develop a vaccine, but the real concern is that the virus will mutate to become more easily transmitted from person to person. Just to be safe, please remember to wash your hands thoroughly and not rely on hand sanitizers!

Stay Safe. Know Before™.

-The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team

 

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