Middle East Respiratory Syndrome: Epidemic, causes, risks and prevention
【LWBS 2015 06 01 A】(SpringRain Edited and Translated)
June 1, South Korean health officials isolated nearly 700 people on Monday in an effort to stop the spread of the potentially deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS, also known as the "new SARS") within its borders after 18 people became infected over the past 10 days -- a rate of transmission that appears more aggressive than in other countries.
South Korea has been on high alert since May 20 when a 68-year-old man who had been traveling in Bahrain tested positive for the virus. Since then, the virus has been detected in a number of patients and visitors to the hospital where he was treated -- triggering global concern about whether the virus had mutated or genetic or environmental factors may have been at play.
"We must find the reason for the high rate of transmission unlike in the cases of other countries," President Park Geun-hye told a meeting on Monday, according to Reuters.
May 31, the number infected with MERS rose to 18 in South Korea. Hong Kong authorities quarantined 18 fellow passengers of a South Korean man who arrived in the city infected with MERS.
Authorities say the 44-year-old South Korean man flew from Seoul to Hong Kong on Tuesday and then traveled by bus to the Chinese mainland. He is China's first imported MERS case and is being held in isolation at a hospital in southern China.
May 29, Chinese Ministry of Health and Family Planning reported, the first case of imported Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was confirmed in Huizhou City, Guangdong Province.
As of May 25, there were 24 countries worldwide reported a total of 1139 confirmed cases in the Middle East respiratory syndrome, including 431 deaths.
May 27, WHO reported: A person who had closely contacted a confirmed MERS patient in South Korea immigrated to Huizhou, Guangdong Province through Hong Kong. This immigrant father was Korea's the third patient diagnosed with the disease. They have been together in hospital with another patient in the same room for four hours.
May 19, the man developed fever and other symptoms. Although not confirmed, but due to hyperthermia and other MERS common symptoms, doctors recommend him to cancel the plan of trip to China on business, but he did not follow the doctor's advice.
Huizhou City Health Planning Department transferred him to a designated hospital for isolating treatment at 2:00 am on the 28th , and locally observed the people who had the close contact with him. The samples were tested in the Guangdong CDC detect evacuation center in the morning on the 28th then sent to the CDC of China for review. The patient still has a fever, and the highest temperature is 39.5 degrees Celsius, the chest radiograph showed: double low lungs are sick, suggesting pneumonia. Up to now, the 38 close contacts of the case were not unusual.
Guangdong CDC: The fellow passengers who traveled with the Korea MERS patient please contact with CDC as soon as possible
To prevent the spread of the epidemic, the Guangdong CDC issued an urgent notice: A MERS case entered from south Korea was confirmed in this province. The patient came to Hong Kong on May 26, 2015 by Asiana Airlines OZ723 flights, and from Hong Kong International Airport on the same day went to Huizhou, Guangdong province.
Guangdong Provincial Disease Prevention and Control Center called that the people who took the same class flights or vehicle on May 26 with the patient, please take the action to contact with the Guangdong Provincial Disease Prevention and Control Center or the Center for Huizhou Disease Control and Prevention Center (Tel: Guangdong CDC Center 020-84451025,18928824836; Huizhou City CDC: 0752-2873011,13433449127 Doctor Qiu), so that the disease control department can do further assessment and provide related assistance.
Specific transport vehicles are as follows:
(1) May 26, 2015 by Asiana Airlines flight OZ723.
(2) At 15 o'clock on May 26, 2015 from Hong Kong International Airport by bus to Sha Tau Kok (Hong Kong license plate number: PJ 2595)
(3) At 16:46 on May 26, 2015 from Sha Tau Kok by bus to Huizhou (Guangdong plate: Guangdong Z CH70 Hong Kong / Hong Kong plate number: HN 5211).
What is MERS coronavirus?
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus was first discovered in Saudi Arabia in September 2012, both it and viruses that caused severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) or "atypical pneumonia" belong to the coronavirus family, there will be more severe infection of the respiratory system syndrome accompanied by acute renal failure. In Saudi Arabia, the major epidemic of the virus has resulted in more than 900 cases, of which about 400 people died.
A typical case in the MERS often shows fever, cough and shortness of breath and other symptoms, and is usually found in the inspection of pneumonia. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea have also been reported. Severe cases can lead to respiratory failure, requiring mechanical ventilation and intensive care to support treatment. In some cases there may be organ failure, especially kidney failure and septic shock. The virus seems to cause more severe diseases in immunocompromised people, including the elderly and associated chronic diseases (such as diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease) populations.
Camels are suspected to be the original source for human infection. So far, there is no cure and a vaccine against this new coronavirus. However, although the mortality rate of MERS is high, but compared with other infectious diseases, it's contagious and not so strong, and people may become sick only after a lot of direct contacts.
How to prevent?
WHO last May 9 update released the 12 FAQ about the MERS. This virus does not seem to spread easily among people, unless there is close contact, such as when not to protect during patient care. In the clustering of cases in the hospital, interpersonal infection becomes easier, especially when infection prevention and control measures are not enough. There are no specific treatment and vaccines for the MERS. It is the key to understand the basics of the disease and prepare a good prevention.
The US CDC recommends that general preventive measures for the prevention of respiratory tract infection to prevent the MERS:
1. Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash.
3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
4. Avoid personal contact, such as kissing, or sharing cups or eating utensils, with sick people.
5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as toys and doorknobs.
Beijing CDC released six Prevention tips:
1. Maintain good personal hygiene and environmental sanitation; frequently wash your hands; try to avoid close contact with persons with respiratory infection symptoms; try to wear masks when going out; try to avoid crowded places to stay long.
2. Should pay attention to maintaining a balanced diet and adequate rest during a trip; pay attention to food hygiene; should keep the indoor air circulation at home or during a travel. The aged or sick people should especially pay attention to their health.
3. Try to avoid going to animal feed, slaughter, raw meat market place and wildlife habitat; avoid direct contact with animals and animal waste.
4. Respiratory infection symptoms come out should seek immediate medical attention, and try to avoid close contact with other people; cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, towels, etc., and properly dispose of contaminated tissue, and wash your hands thoroughly.
5. There are acute respiratory symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and other upon entry, should take the initiative to the prevalence of the CIQ declaration, and with the health and quarantine departments to carry out the investigation and the appropriate medical examination.
6. If there are acute respiratory infection symptoms within 14 days after return from aboard, should seek immediate medical attention. Take the initiative to inform the medical staff about the recent travel history as well as the local history of exposure for timely diagnosis and treatment.