New Virus in Middle East Spread in Hospitals

The MERS virus, which has killed 38 of the 64 people known to be infected, is spread mostly in hospitals and special care is needed to prevent the outbreaks from getting bigger, said experts on Wednesday.

An investigation was done over the outbreak in the country of Saudi Arabia and showed that 21 people had been infected while patients had unknowingly gone from one clinic to another helping the virus to spread.

The virus can spread very quickly inside the hospital if there are no strict precautions taken including keeping patients isolated, making both health care providers and patients wear masks and strict hygiene for hands.

One big problem with the virus is there has not been a test developed yet to identify the virus and that makes it difficult to tell what patient has it.

MERS or the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome is a coronavirus. It is SARS’ distant cousin, which infected more than 8,000 people around the world in 2003 and killed close to 800 before health experts stopped it.

The group of coronaviruses is big and usually causes symptoms that are like the common cold, but in certain cases a very severe infection can occur and one of those is MERS.

Scientists said they cannot afford another SARS and have kept a close eye on this virus. Countries where the virus has already been reported include Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, France, Italy, Germany and Britain.

Some of the people infected have infected others living in other countries. Most notably a patient in France infected a hospital roommate.

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