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Now tracking the new emerging South Africa Omicron Variant

MERS - again

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KiwiMum View Drop Down

Joined: May 29 2013
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    Posted: July 26 2023 at 1:20pm

Josh, I've seen a few mentions online to MERS rearing it's head again. Do you know anything about this?

Those who got it wrong, for whatever reason, may feel defensive and retrench into a position that doesn’t accord with the facts.
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Dutch Josh View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dutch Josh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 26 2023 at 10:36pm

Thanks for asking KM ! ;-) !

[url][/url] or ;

Although reported cases have declined sharply since the start of the COVID pandemic, MERS-CoV continues to circulate in Middle Eastern camels, and occasionally spills over into humans.  Surveillance and reporting have been inconsistent over the years, and it is likely that some (perhaps, many) cases go unreported.


Yesterday the World Health Organization published the following update after the notification by the UAE of a MERS infection in an apparently healthy 28-year old male, who was not a healthcare worker (a known risk factor), and who had no known contact with camels or camel products. 

The patient was admitted to the hospital on June 8th with gastrointestinal symptoms (including diarrhea), referred to the ICU at `a specialized government tertiary hospital' on June 13th and placed on a ventilator, but testing for MERS wasn't done until June 21st, and results weren't known until the 23rd; 15 days after first entering the hospital. 

Since failure to make a MERS diagnosis not only endangers the patient, it risks sparking a major nosocomial outbreak, in response the Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre (ADPHC) has reportedly `. . . updated the case definition for MERS-CoV, strengthened surveillance activities to identify possible cases, conducted several workshops and issued circulars for MERS-CoV.' 


Approximately 35% of patients with MERS-CoV have died, but this may be an overestimate of the true mortality rate, as mild cases of MERS-CoV may be missed by existing surveillance systems. Until more is known about the disease, the case fatality rates are counted only amongst the laboratory-confirmed cases reported to WHO.


There are some researchers who worry that MERS-COV and SARS-CoV-2 could some day recombine into a hybrid (see Nature: CoV Recombination Potential & The Need For the Development of Pan-CoV Vaccines) resulting in either a `SARS-CoV-3or `MERS-CoV-2virus. 

How likely that is to happen is a subject of considerable debate, but it appears to be at least theoretically possible.

The WHO continues to diplomatically urge stronger surveillance, early testing, and isolation of patients in regions where MERS-CoV is endemic, stating:

Human-to-human transmission of MERS-CoV in healthcare settings has been associated with delays in recognizing the early symptoms of MERS-CoV infection, slow triage of suspected cases and delays in implementing infection, prevention and control (IPC) measures.


Early identification, case management and isolation of cases, quarantine of contacts, appropriate infection prevention and control measures in health care settings, and public health awareness can prevent human-to-human transmission of MERS-CoV.V

Variations of this advice have been repeated often over the past 10 years. Bu there is obviously still a lot of room for improvement. 

DJ...we keep ignoring public health risks...[url][/url] or is still around-most in camels...

-but it could jump into other species

-it can mix with other (corona)virusses

-Limited number of human coinfection of MERS and CoViD is very likely (and high risk)

In my view another timebomb...maybe not as bad as CoViD-19/SARS-2 or H5N1...both should be a global top priority-but are ignored...

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
~Albert Einstein
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