Here is a line that seems taken from a horror movie: “A new virus is menacing the population of the entire world and we can’t do anything about it.” The reality is that there have been recorded 23 deaths and 49 infections so far from this new SARS-like coronavirus. The last victim was a 65-year-old French man, who passed away in a hospital in Lille, a little over a month after being admitted. He came to the hospital with severe stomach pain and breathing problems and it took the doctors two weeks to diagnose him. It appears that he caught the virus while on a trip in Dubai.
So far, the World Health Organization has learned little about the new threat. The SARS-like coronavirus is called Middle East respiratory symptom coronavirus, or MERS-CoV and comes from the same viral family which triggered the outbreak of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), that killed 775 people back in 2003.
MERS-CoV can be passed among humans after close prolonged contact. Its symptoms include high fever, cough, respiratory problems and can lead to pneumonia and kidney failure.
The virus has first been spotted in Saudi Arabia, specifically in the eastern part of the country.
WHO’s general director Dr. Margaret Chan calls MERS-CoV “a threat to the entire world”, as its spread cannot be prevented and there is no vaccine for it at this time.