BEIJING, Sept. 10 (Xinhuanet) -- After killing one more in Saudi Arabia, the MERS virus continues its grip.
Unsure of its origin, mode of transmission, and the best course of treatment, clinicians have been working to quell it on a case-by-case basis in the country.
The worsening situations has drawn concern from the Saudi health officials as the hajj season fast approaches.
In order to keep cases to a minimum, the officials have urged that elderly and children are deemed as the key protection objects. And an even bigger concern for them is the people who will arrive.
According to Heinz Feldmann, chief of NIAID’s Laboratory of Virology in U.S., MERS is an infectious disease unlike any seen in humans before.
However, the virus is fundamentally different from SARS. “It is more deadly,” Feldmann said.
Since September 2012, WHO has recorded a total of 114 MERS infection cases with 54 deaths worldwide, a higher fatality rate than SARS.
Experts have yet to find a confirmed source, meaning there is no vaccine to protect against the virus and no treatment to cure it once it is contracted.
“If we know that, there’s a possibility we can stop it, like H7N9 and SARS—you close the animal markets, the risk goes away,” said Allison McGeer, one of the researchers at the front lines of SARS when the outbreak reached Toronto, Canada, 10 years ago
“If we knew what the risk was, then we might be able to stop it . . . and we wouldn’t have to worry about the virus evolving as it grows in humans, and we wouldn’t have to worry about ongoing hospital transmissions in the Arabian peninsula and henceforth, to other countries,”Allison McGeer added.