A man from Abu Dhabi has tested positive for the potentially fatal Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The 28-year-old, who lives in Al Ain city, was admitted to a hospital last month, as per the World Health Organization.

The health officials have checked 108 people with whom the man was in contact with but no secondary infections had turned up so far, news agency Reuters reported citing WHO. The current condition of the infected man is still awaited.

Meanwhile, there were also no signs that the man had come into contact with dromedary camels, which spread the disease that is separate from Covid-19.

What is MERS-CoV?

1. The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory disease caused by Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS‐CoV) that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19).

2. Since the identification of MERS-CoV in 2012, 27 Member States have reported cases of MERS to WHO, including, Algeria, Austria, Bahrain, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Islamic Republic of Iran, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Tunisia, Türkiye, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Yemen.  

3. MERS-CoV is a zoonotic virus, meaning it is transmitted between animals and people, as per WHO. MERS-CoV has been identified and linked to human infections in dromedary camels in several Member States in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. A total of 2,605 cases and 936 associated deaths have been reported so far.

4. As per WHO, typical MERS symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Pneumonia is common, but MERS patients may not always develop this condition. Gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhoea, have also been reported among MERS patients.

5. As for treatment, no vaccine or specific treatment are currently available, however several MERS-CoV specific vaccines and treatments are in clinical development. In the absence of MERS-specific therapeutics, treatment of MERS patients is supportive and based on the patient’s clinical condition.


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