News outlets have been reporting endlessly for months now about the deadly MERS virus plaguing Saudi Arabia. Now the virus has also struck in the U.S. Will the medical community be able to contain it?
Medical experts are concerned about the potential of the virus to spread.
A man became ill last week after returning from a job in Saudi Arabia where the man worked in the healthcare field. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are trying to decipher how the man contracted it. Other federal agencies are going to great lengths to track down people the man was in contact with who may have acquired the disease from him. Statistics show, “Overall, at least 400 people have had the respiratory illness, and more than 100 people have died. All had ties to the Middle East or to people who traveled there.”
Fox explains why the MERS virus is so dangerous, “MERS belongs to the coronavirus family that includes the common cold and SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which caused some 800 deaths globally in 2003.The MERS virus has been found in camels, but officials don't know how it is spreading to humans. It can spread from person to person, but officials believe that happens only after close contact. Not all those exposed to the virus become ill. But it appears to be unusually lethal -- by some estimates, it has killed nearly a third of the people it sickened. That's a far higher percentage than seasonal flu or other routine infections. But it is not as contagious as flu, measles or other diseases. There is no vaccine or cure for MERS.”
The federal government is keeping mum about the issue.
A short statement was released saying, “On April 24, the man flew from Riyadh -- Saudi Arabia's capital and largest city -- to the United States, with a stop in London. He landed in Chicago and took a bus to the neighboring state of Indiana. He didn't become sick until Sunday, the CDC said.”