Travel warning: Saudi Arabia

Please exercise caution while visiting the land of all-MERSi-full camels and people who act all-too-familiar with the camels.This is just like SARS which came from close proximity of humans to pig/birds in China.

Actually there are no known cures for MERS…..yet, so a complete travel ban is warranted. As if one needed an excuse for not visiting Saudi Arabia.
…..

Saudi health authorities announced on Saturday two new
deaths from the MERS coronavirus, raising to 109 the number of fatalities since
the disease appeared in the kingdom in September 2012. 

A 25-year-old man has
died in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah and a woman of 69, who suffered from
tuberculosis and anaemia, died in Mecca, also western Saudi Arabia, the health
ministry said. At the same time, 35 new cases of the severe respiratory disease
have been recorded, raising the number of sufferers in the Gulf state over the
past two years to 396,
the world’s highest tally. 
Yesterday, US health
officials said the first case of MERS has been confirmed in the United States.
The
person infected with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is
a health care provider who had travelled to Riyadh for work, they said. 
And
last week, Egypt recorded its first infection after a person who arrived from Saudi
Arabia tested positive. 
Public concern in Saudi Arabia over the spread of MERS
has mounted after the resignation of at least four doctors
at Jeddah’s King
Fahd Hospital who refused to treat patients for fear of infection. 
Some
research has suggested that camels are a likely source of the virus. 
MERS is
considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the Sars virus that
erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died.
There
are no vaccines or antiviral treatments for MERS, a disease with a mortality
rate of more than 40 per cent that experts are still struggling to understand.

……
Along a stretch of rust-belt suburbia in Indiana, the Community
Hospital in Munster
now claims the dubious distinction of being the
first U.S. facility to admit a patient with the deadly Middle East
Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

U.S. state and federal health officials confirmed the first American
case of the virus on Friday. The patient, a male healthcare worker, had
travelled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and began exhibiting symptoms upon
his return to the United States, they said.

Separately, Saudi officials on Saturday said the rate of infections
was on the rise in the country, where MERS was first discovered in 2012.
The total number of cases in the kingdom is 396, of whom more than a
quarter have died.


The MERS patient had traveled via a British Airways flight on April
24 from Riyadh to London, changing planes at Heathrow airport to fly to
Chicago. From there, he boarded a bus to Indiana. Munster, which is
close to Indiana’s border with Illinois, is about a 45-minute drive from
downtown Chicago.

Health officials in Britain were contacting any passengers who may
have sat next to the patient. U.S. health authorities stressed the case
represents a very low risk to the public.

But concerns remain, given how little is know about the way MERS is
spread, other than it can be transmitted between people who are in close
contact. That has made healthcare workers particularly susceptible to
falling ill with the MERS virus, for which there is no treatment.


But citing “an abundance of caution,” Indiana health officials urged
people who had visited the hospital’s Emergency Department between 6:30
p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on April 28,
the night the MERS patient was admitted,
to watch for symptoms such as cough, fever and shortness of breath.

……
Link(1): http://www.cbc.ca/news/mers-virus-indiana-hospital-treating-u-s-patient-still-bustling
Link(2):  http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/coronavirus-arabian-peninsula-uk
….
regards

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