The Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory disease caused by the corona virus. Symptoms of someone suffering from MERS-CoV include coughing, shortness of breath, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Sometimes, pneumonia is present and can cause injury to organs such as the kidneys leading to kidney failure. The corona virus belongs to the same family of viruses that cause the common cold. In this article, we are going to discuss MERS virus and how to stay clear of it.
MERS-CoV was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Since then, it has spread to other countries such as the United
Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Italy, Qatar, Germany, Philippines, and France. There are groups of people who are more susceptible to MERS-CoV than others. These groups includes:
1. Patients that are suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart conditions.
2. Organ transplant recipients who are taking immunosuppressive drugs.
3. Patients with weak immune systems, i.e. cancer patients undergoing treatment.
No one knows the exact source of transmission of MERS-CoV, how people get infected or the mode of transmission. However, if you are living in areas known to have cases of MERS-CoV infections, WHO suggest people take measures currently advised for any respiratory illness.
1. Avoid contact with people with symptoms of the disease.
If you are on a trip to the disease-prone areas, it is good to avoid contact with people with the symptoms. If you get sick while on the trip, avoid other people and take necessary precautions not to infect others. For example, wear a medical mask, sneeze into a sleeve and ensure it is disposed of properly.
2. Maintain good hand hygiene.
We use our hands to perform many activities. Therefore, it is very advisable to practice good hand hygiene for our own good. i.e. you should wash your hands well before eating a meal or fruit. You should also avoid touching your face, mouth, nose with unwashed hands as this might cause you problems.
3. Avoid unwashed vegetables and fruits.
Vegetables and fruits are part of our meals. Therefore, you should ensure that you wash vegetables and fruits properly before preparing or eating them. This way, you are sure that you are taking safe food.
4. Avoid uncooked and undercooked meats.
Meats are known to be carriers of disease causing micro-organisms. Therefore, try to avoid eating any uncooked or undercooked meat to be on the safe side.
5. Drink sterilized water.
The water you drink should be well treated. This is to ensure that you will not get any water disease that will make your immune system weak.