Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), also known as camel flu, is a viral respiratory infection caused by the MERS-coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Symptoms may range from mild to severe. They include fever, cough, diarrhea, and shortness of breath. Disease is typically more severe in those with other health problems.
MERS-CoV is a betacoronavirus derived from bats. Camels have been shown to have antibodies to MERS-CoV but the exact source of infection in camels has not been identified. Camels are believed to be involved in its spread to humans but it is unclear how. Spread between humans typically requires close contact with an infected person. Its spread is uncommon outside of hospitals. Thus, its risk to the global population is currently deemed to be fairly low.
As of 2015 there is no specific vaccine or treatment for the disease. However, a number of antiviral medications are currently being studied. The World Health Organization recommends that those who come in contact with camels wash their hands frequently and do not touch sick camels. They also recommend that camel products be appropriately cooked. Among those who are infected treatments that help with the symptoms may be given.
Just over 1000 cases of the disease have been reported as of May 2015. About 40% of those who become infected die from the disease. The first identified case occurred in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and most cases have occurred in the Arabian Peninsula. Astrain of MERS-CoV known as HCoV-EMC/2012 found in the first infected person in London in 2012 was found to have a 100% match to Egyptian tomb bats. A large outbreak occurred in the Republic of Korea in 2015.
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http://f1000research.com/articles/2-163/v1 wickramage k, peiris s and agampodi sb. “don’t forget the migrants”: exploring preparedness and response strategies to combat the potential spread of mers-cov virus through migrant workers in sri lanka[version 1; referees: 2 approved, 1 approved with reservations]. f1000research 2013, 2:163 (doi:10.12688/f1000research.2-163.v1)