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MER, a new virus Hajj pilgrims could bring back to Canada

July 26, 2013   ·   0 Comments   ·   3,059 Total Views   ·


The World Health Organization announced that MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) – the new coronavirus in the Middle East though not yet an epidemic, is a cause for alarm. mers
MERS has infected 88 people and killed 45 people, several of whom have brought the virus to Europe and Africa.
Thus far, all confirmed cases can be traced back to one of four Middle Eastern countries: Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. Butthe majority of cases have occurred in Saudi Arabia.
There is a real concern that visitors could get infected and return home with a disease they have no idea they are carrying.
But which countries are most at risk? This is the question a team of researchers led by Dr. Kamran Khan, a St. Michael’s Hospital doctor and founder of BioDiaspora wanted to answer with their new study, published Wednesday in PLOS Currents Outbreaks. mers
The SARS epidemic killed over 800 people worldwide, the majority of infected travelers were from in high-income countries, including Canada. But with Hajj, there were 1.74 million pilgrims last year and an estimated 65.1 per cent flew home to low or low-middle income countries, according to the study. One in four Hajj pilgrims flew to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Nepal, countries that spend $59, $30, $56 and $33 US per capita on health care, respectively. Canada‘s health expenditures per capita is $5,630 US, or $5,837 CAD. Meanwhile Canadian hospitals remain on alert for a flood of cases.
People infected with MERS-CoV developed severe acute respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath. About half of them died. Some people were reported as having a mild respiratory illness. MERS-CoV has been shown to spread between people who are in close contact. Transmission from infected patients to healthcare personnel has also been a problem. There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by MERS-CoV. Medical care is supportive and to help relieve symptoms.




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