MERS Covid: Its Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention

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MERS Covid: Its Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention

The coronavirus calamity has been affecting health worldwide for quite some time now. Although people have restarted their lives with the old routine, buckling up against the odds of COVID-19 continues. MERS CoV is just another coronavirus causing tension among people.

The family of coronaviruses comprises of a variety of viruses causing respiratory problems like SARS-CV-19 and MERS-CoV. As per the reports of the WHO, around 35% of MERS CoV patients have already passed away.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, or MERS CoV, was first reported in Saudi Arabia and various Middle Eastern countries. The first case of MERS CoV was reported in the UAE in July 2013

This article will provide Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus insight so you can stay cautious and careful. Knowing details is especially essential and helpful for people who have travel plans to the Middle East.

What is MERS CoV?

MERS CoV is a type of coronavirus that stands for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus.  The disease spreads from camels to humans and also between humans. Like SARS Covid-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2), MERS CoV is also a respiratory illness. South Asia, the Middle East and Saudi Arabia are the most impacted areas of MERS CoV.

MERS CoV, or East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, is a zoonotic virus. Such a zoonotic virus is capable of spreading from animals to humans and vice-versa. Most of the cases of the MERS CoV have been reported where the disease has spread from dromedary camels to humans. Cases of human-to-human transmission have also been reported. It usually happens when a healthy person comes in close contact with the infected one, like in a hospital or a room.

How does MERS CoV Transmission Take Place?

It is important to know that MERS CoV isn't as easy to transmit as SARS Covid-19. Here are the possible causes of the MERS CoV:

  • Being a zoonotic virus, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus easily spreads from animals to humans, vice-versa, and from humans to humans.
  • You may catch MERS CoV if you come in contact with an infected camel.
  • Coming in close contact with an infected person may also transmit the disease to you.
  • Like SARS Covid-19, touching the infected surfaces and using infected objects can also spread MERS CoV.
  • Around 80% of human infection cases of MERS CoV have been reported in Saudi Arabia. Those infected outside Saudi are most likely to have a recent travel history to the Middle East or meet people who have recently travelled to the Middle East. 
  • Dromedary camels have reported a high number of cases in various countries like Saudi Arabia, Africa, South Asia.
  • The cases of MERS CoV have been reported in around 27 countries across the world. These include the United States of America, Algeria, Bahrain, Austria, China, France, Egypt, Greece, Germany, Italy, Kuwait, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Malaysia, Oman, the Netherlands, Philippines, Qatar, Tunisia, Republic of Korea, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Thailand Türkiye, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

Symptoms of MERS CoV

As MERS is a respiratory syndrome coronavirus  the symptoms may sound similar to those caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 or influenza virus. Some people may experience symptoms after 5-6 days of being infected while some may experience after 14 days. On the other hand, some infected people may be asymptomatic and show no signs.

Here are some of the common symptoms of MERS CoV:

  • Cough
  • Breathing shortness
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Runny nose
  • Body pain 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

In advanced stages, MERS CoV can cause:

  • Pneumonia
  • Kidney failures
  • Severe acute respiratory illnesses
  • Death

Diagnosis of MERS CoV

Diagnosis of East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus can be somewhat similar to that of the SARS Covid-19. Your doctor will perform the following tests:

  • You may be asked about your recent travel history, especially to the Middle East since most of the cases have been reported there.
  • Your doctor will ask if you have come in close contact with someone who recently travelled to the MERS CoV zone or with an infected camel.
  • You will have to explain the symptoms you have been experiencing and when.

Apart from these, certain medical tests may also be carried out, like:

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC) Test to detect the presence of any virus
  • X-ray of your chest
  • PCR testing. This test can be done through your nasal swab, throat swab, or mucus sample. A stool test may also be taken.

After all the possible combination tests are done, the presence of MERS CoV in your body is confirmed. Once diagnosed, you will be asked to stay in quarantine until the symptoms go away. In severe cases, hospitalisation is needed.

>> Also Read: Impact of COVID-19: Medical Insurance is A New Normal

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus: Treatment

It is disheartening to know that so far, there is no vaccination against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus. However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and various other countries are closely monitoring the functionality of the virus. Hopefully, soon WHO will come up with the treatment and the vaccination against MERS CoV. The following treatment may be provided to a MERS CoV patient:

  • Pain medications to relieve the pain
  • Intravenous fluids
  • Oxygen therapy in case of shortness of breathing
  • Ventilator 
  • Dialysis

Prevention against MERS CoV

Viruses like  Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus spread when you come in close contact with an infected person, animal, or object. So, here are some basic tips on hygiene and health that can help you stay away from not just MERS CoV but different types of viruses:

  • Make sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with hand wash or soap and water.
  • Use a hanky or cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze.
  • Do not touch your face, nose, mouth, or eyes without washing your hand.
  • Wear masks in crowded areas.
  • Isolate yourself if you experience Covid symptoms and see a doctor immediately.
  • Disinfect frequently used objects like doorknobs, main door handles, etc.
  • Avoid touching objects in public spaces like railings, walls, lift gates, etc.
  • Always have a sanitiser with you.
  • Keep the shoes outside and immediately change your clothes after returning home.

Conclusion

As of now, there are medical treatments available to ease the symptoms of the MERS CoV. However, the exact treatment is yet to come. Unlike SARS Covid-19, MERS CoV isn't that common and popular. However, owing to the possibility of fatalities and transmission associated with MERS CoV, it is crucial to know more about it and stay alarmed. Although India has not yet reported serious or rising cases of MERS CoV, we all must still be cautious.

In the times of pandemics like COVID-19, it is best to invest in a health insurance plan that covers the treatment expenses. Health insurance plans like those offered by Care Health Insurance include medical expenses for COVID-19 treatments as the scope of coverage. You can consider buying one to keep your savings protected.

Disclaimers: The above information is for reference purposes only: Policy Assurance and Claims at the underwriter's discretion.

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