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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic

398 Suspected MERS Cases

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Albert View Drop Down
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    Posted: June 04 2015 at 2:05pm

Not looking good.  If the numbers suddenly shoot into the hundreds we could be dealing with a possible pandemic situation.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2015 at 2:07pm
This also explains why 1600 are quarantined, and why the quarantine numbers are so high, and why the schools are closed.   There is a lot of information not getting out about this yet.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2015 at 2:19pm
ABC News

More than 1,300 in Quarantine as South Korea Battles MERS Virus

Jun 3, 2015, 3:48 PM ET

More than 1,300 people are in quarantine in South Korea as the country grapples with an outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, and at least two people have died from the disease, authorities said.

A person traveling from the Middle East to South Korea is believed to be patient zero in the country, according to a report from the World Health Organization. When the 68-year-old man arrived at a hospital for treatment, he was not initially put into isolation because the deadly MERS virus was not suspected by medical officials, according to the WHO report.

Director-General of Public Health Policy at South Korea's Ministry of Health and Welfare, Kwon Jun-wook, addressed reporters today and said that at least 30 people had been infected with the virus and another 398 were "possibly infected."

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/1300-quarantine-south-korea-battles-mers-virus/story?id=31504090


Comment:  I believe flu season in South Korea peaked in Feb - March, and is now over.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tiger_deF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2015 at 3:29pm
UPDATE- A fourth death has been recorded, and 5 new cases bringing the total to 41 so far. 2 of the infections were caught from people who had contact with people infected by the first case. The situation is getting worse.... somehow I am having trouble believing there has been no sustained "human to human" transition
There are probably already ten or more cases in China, but the govt is covering it up.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2015 at 4:23pm
China most likely has an outbreak underway.  Just a guess.  After the SARS situation, they will keep a lid on it for as long as possible to avoid a panic. They would hate to think SARS cousin has returned. The incubation period is over and they would otherwise be quick to say no cases.

For S. Korea, they have a panic on their hands.  That's the reason why they're probably reporting 5 - 6 cases each time (day), like what we saw China do in reporting H7N9.  It's better to report 5 per day than 10 - 20 per day and try and avoid a panic while they try to contain it.   S. Korea has 398 suspected cases and they were testing 99.  I'm leaning toward a very large outbreak as this is not flu season over there.  Normally in the past, suspected cases would turn out to be nothing.  In this cases, I'm thinking otherwise.

Surprised the sequencing isn't done yet.  For the first time in history, they may have to use the M word, and announce MERS has "mutated".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arirish Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2015 at 4:37pm
South Korea: 1,200 should stay home because of MERS-infected doctor



http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/04/world/south-korea-mers/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2015 at 5:37pm
They're going to report 4 - 5 new cases tomorrow.  We've seen this "reporting pattern" before, as they try to contain it.  

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CRS, DrPH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2015 at 7:20pm
For students of how SARS spread thanks to an infected doctor at the Metropole Hotel in Hong Kong, this should be sobering, if not chilling:

A South Korean doctor infected with MERS-CoV reportedly attended several large events after he was quarantined after having suspected symptoms, Yonhap News Agency reported today, citing Seoul city government sources. He worked for a hospital in Seoul where he came in contact with an earlier MERS patient and was recently recorded as the country's 35th person to be infected with the virus. The report said the man's attendance at the events brought him in contact with more than 1,000 people.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KiwiMum Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2015 at 7:21pm
I wonder how fatal this strain will turn out to be.
If it is to be, it is up to me.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FluMom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2015 at 7:53pm
This was on Drudge today: "After Ebola, world still unprepared for global pandemic: MSF"

Joanne Liu does not realize that the leaders of the world want a pandemic to take most of us. They can declare "Martial Law" and the politicians and super wealthy will run us all as the slaves to them.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote jacksdad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2015 at 8:01pm
We'll always be unprepared, FluMom. Present company excepted, of course
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"Any community that fails to prepare, with the expectation that the federal government will come to the rescue, will be tragically wrong." Michael Leavitt, HHS Secretary.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FluMom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2015 at 8:04pm
Dang, I know I am not totally prepped I don't have gas masks yet! I need to just bite the bullet and get a couple. I just don't know which filters I need!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 05 2015 at 4:48am
Honestly, I really need to get up with the times here.  The U.S. had a MERS case last month and I missed that one.   And a couple weeks later in spreads in S. Korea.   Still smells like a mutation.


First U.S. case of MERS confirmed

The first U.S. case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus has been reported in Indiana, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

The patient is a health-care provider who recently traveled to Saudi Arabia to provide health care, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general with the U.S. Public Health Service and director for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

The person, an American male, traveled on April 24 from Riyadh to London, then to Chicago, and took a bus to Indiana, officials said. He began experiencing shortness of breath, coughing, and fever on April 27, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.

The patient was admitted to Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana, on April 28, the same day he visited the emergency department there, the health department said. He has been isolated and is in stable condition. He is receiving oxygen support, but does not require a ventilator, Schuchat said.


The virus poses a "very low risk to the broader general public," Schuchat said, as it has not been shown to spread easily from person to person.

The CDC and the Indiana State Department of Health are conducting a joint investigation into the case, according to a CDC statement. The CDC confirmed Indiana test results on Friday.

"The CDC, IDPH (Illinois Department of Public Health) and CDPH (Chicago Department of Public Health) do not consider passengers on the flight or bus to be close contacts of the patient and therefore are not at high risk," said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, director of the IDPH.

Passengers on the same plane and bus as the patient will be contacted by the CDC as a precautionary measure, starting Saturday, the Illinois statement said. If the CDC identifies ill individuals with possible MERS-CoV, it will notify health officials in Chicago and Indiana.

"There is no reason to suspect any current risk to travelers or employees at O'Hare Airport at this time," said CDPH commissioner Bechara Choucair.

The coronavirus, known as MERS-CoV, was first reported in the Middle East -- specifically, the Arabian Peninsula -- in 2012.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/02/health/indiana-mers/

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 05 2015 at 4:52am
Actually, make that 2 U.S. cases.   Are they sure they contained it here?  Cough...



Newest U.S. MERS patient was infected by Indiana victim, CDC says



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified an Illinois man who appears to be the first home-grown case of MERS in the United States.

The unidentified man does not have an active case of Middle East respiratory syndrome, CDC officials said Saturday. But blood tests show that his immune system has made antibodies to fight the MERS coronavirus -- an indication that he has been infected.

Unlike the two U.S. residents who have been diagnosed with MERS -- one in Indiana and one in Florida -- the Illinois man has not traveled to the Middle East, where the virus first appeared in 2012. However, he met with the Indiana patient twice and had close contact with him during those visits, according to the CDC.

Dr. David Swerdlow, the epidemiologist in charge of the CDC’s MERS response, told reporters that the two men were conducting business meetings, during which they shook hands. The first of the two meetings, on April 25, had them sitting face-to-face about six feet apart for more than half an hour. The second meeting, on April 26, was shorter.

The Illinois man was never sick enough to seek out medical care. Health officials tested him as part of their investigation into all the known contacts of the Indiana patient, a healthcare worker who returned from Saudi Arabia four days before he was admitted to Community Hospital in Munster, Ind., on April 28.

Health officials will now reach out to people who have been in close contact with the Illinois man to "notify, test, and monitor" them, according to the CDC.

“It’s possible that as the investigation continues others may also test positive for MERS-CoV infection but not get sick,” Swerdlow said in a statement.

Local health officials have been keeping tabs on the Illinois man since May 3. His blood test results showing MERS antibodies were reported to the CDC on Friday night.

As of Saturday, the Illinois man is “feeling well,” the CDC says.

So is the Indiana patient, who was identified as the first case of MERS in the U.S. on May 2. He has been discharged from the Munster hospital and is “fully recovered,” according to the CDC.

The Florida patient is also a healthcare worker who traveled from Saudi Arabia to Orlando to visit relatives there. He began to experience flu-like symptoms on a plane from Jidda to London on May 1. He was admitted to a hospital on May 8, where he is currently “isolated” and “doing well,” the CDC says.

There is no link between the Indiana and Florida patients.

DNA evidence indicates that the virus that causes MERS originated in camels before mutating in a way that allowed it to spread to humans. So far, it does not appear to spread easily among people -- cases of spread involve close contact, such as between patients and their healthcare providers.

But health officials are worried about the virus because people do not have any natural defense against it, and it has been fatal in about 30% of known cases. As of Thursday, the World Health Organization has announced 572 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS, including 173 deaths.

Symptoms of the respiratory infection may include shortness of breath, coughing and fever. The CDC urges people to protect themselves by taking routine precautions such as washing their hands, disinfecting germy surfaces and avoiding people who are sick. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for MERS.

At this time, there is no need for Americans wishing to vist the Arabian Peninsula to cancel their plans, the CDC says. Travelers should monitor their health while overseas and once they return, according to the agency.

“This latest development does not change CDC’s current recommendations to prevent the spread of MERS,” Swerdlow said. “If new information is learned that requires us to change our prevention recommendations, we can do so.”

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-mers-illinois-patient-cdc-20140517-story.html

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 05 2015 at 5:03am
I still think it mutated.  U.S. cases... now spreading like wildfire in S. Korea.... a declined mortality rate to 27%.... smells like mutation to me.

Is S. Korea dealing with mutated MERS?

SEOUL — Has the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus mutated?

The answer greatly affects the way it is handled because, epidemiologically speaking, mutation means a more rapid rate of spread but lower fatality.

Weeks have passed with MERS raging out of control and the health authorities are not sure, being reluctant to accept offers of help from outside.

On Sunday, Health and Welfare Minister Moon Hyung-pyo refuted allegations that the virus had mutated.

The ministry doesn’t yet have the genetic sequence of the virus spreading here, meaning that it doesn’t know whether it has mutated from the one found in Saudi Arabia, where Korea’s first MERS patient visited in April.

Experts are doing the sequencing job here and overseas. When the task will be finished and even when it began remain unknown.

Kim Young-taek, a director at the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, refused to reveal any information about the work, including when the ministry started it.

Experts say that the increased infection and decreased fatality rates of the virus could be a sign that it has mutated.

http://www.koreatimesus.com/is-s-korea-dealing-with-mutated-mers/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 05 2015 at 5:33am
Need to correct myself... there have been 3 cases in the U.S. recently. 

Three cases in U.S., but risk of MERS low in Canada, agency says

Canada’s public health agency says the risk posed by MERS remains low despite the U.S. reporting its first apparent transmission of the new coronavirus between people.

Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which surfaced in Saudi Arabia in September, 2012, has not been detected in Canada, but three cases of the SARS-like virus have emerged in the United States. The most recent infection involves an Illinois man who may have contracted the virus from an Indiana man, the first MERS case reported in the U.S.

The Indiana resident, who recently returned home from working in health care in Saudi Arabia, was admitted to hospital this month. Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspect the virus may have spread during a 40-minute business meeting where the pair shook hands.

The Illinois resident did not require medical treatment and is feeling well. Health officials stressed they don’t believe the case suggests the virus is spreading more easily among people. Scientists have linked most human cases of MERS to camels.

In Canada, more than 3,000 individuals have been screened for MERS, which can cause coughing, fever, shortness of breath and pneumonia. The Public Health Agency’s national microbiology laboratory has diagnostic tests available that can rapidly detect the virus, noted spokesman Stéphane Shank.

“The risk to the general Canadian public remains low,” Mr. Shank said in an e-mail.

The World Health Organization has reported 572 cases of MERS, including 173 deaths. With a death rate of about 30 per cent, MERS is proving far more fatal than SARS, which had a death rate of 10 per cent and killed about 800 people worldwide. Forty-four of those deaths were in Canada.

Richard Schabas, Ontario’s former chief medical officer of health, believes the province is better prepared to deal with emerging viruses as a result of its experience with SARS.

“We’ve learned to ask the crucial questions,” said Dr. Schabas, medical officer of health for Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit. “Ninety-five per cent of your protection against a disease like MERS is to ask the right questions: Have you been to Saudi Arabia or do you have a close family contact who has been to Saudi Arabia and come home sick?”

Those questions are being asked at Mount Sinai Hospital, said Allison McGeer, head of infection control at the Toronto hospital. If MERS is suspected, the patient is moved to a private room in the emergency department and health workers take extra precautions, such as wearing masks, face shields, gloves and gowns.

Dr. Schabas doesn’t believe the latest U.S. MERS case will prompt Canadian health officials to alter monitoring and preparedness efforts. Neither does Dr. McGeer.

“At the moment for Canadians, the risk is obviously really, really small,” she noted. “This is a disease in which all of the primary cases have been in the Arabian peninsula, most of them in a single country.”


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote onefluover Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 05 2015 at 5:57am
Nine new cases in Saudi. One sucking camel milk infects nurse, nurse infects seven patients. Four dead, two critical. My son and infant daughter are both sick from entering a clinic for routine blood work. Again. This is a huge problem that is at the root of all pandemics, the locations we care for the infected. People infected with airborne-contagious illnesses must never be allowed to enter or be treated at any hospital or clinic that isn't set aside to handle exclusively Influenza-Like Illnesses.

http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2015/06/who-report-implies-mers-outbreaks-saudi-hospitals
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jacksdad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 05 2015 at 8:31am
Wow - I totally missed the US cases too. What the...?
I agree, Albert - increased levels of transmission and lower mortality certainly seems to suggest a change in the virus.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 05 2015 at 8:43am
According to China, there is no mutation, but then again, we're dealing with China.  They're probably about to announce new cases.  There is also a chance from what we talked about a couple of years ago with MERS in that it could have been the hot dry climate in the Middle East that was keeping it at bay.   It's the rainy season in S. Korea and that the climate change could be adding to the spread, which is common with cold viruses.  It could thrive in wet or cold climates.


China completes genome sequencing of imported MERS case

BEIJING, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Scientists have completed sequencing the genome of the first case of imported Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and found no evidence of variation that would make the virus more contagious.

The sequencing was accomplished on Wednesday by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in cooperation with health department of Guangdong Province, where the case was reported on May 29.

The genome map of the virus shows high homology with MERS-CoV detected in the Middle East. Scientists believe the strain originated in Saudi Arabia.

The result of the sequencing has been uploaded to GenBank at National Center for Biotechnology Information in the United States.

The patient from the Republic of Korea who tested positive for MERS is still being treated at Huizhou Municipal Central Hospital in Guangdong.

By testing and comparing genome sequence of different strains, scientists may find effective measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-06/05/c_134301477.htm

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