Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

A new deadly virus, even more frightening than SARS, is coming from the Middle East. It has already killed 38 people there.

Hospital Patient

Experts call MERS – Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – one of the most deadly viruses that have appeared in recent years on this planet. Its name makes it easy to guess that it originated in the Middle East. Most of those 38 people who became victims of MERS, were in Saudi Arabia.

WHO has documented more than 60 cases of the disease for the last year. The virus is easily transmitted from person to person. In this regard, scientists recollect the 2003 SARS outbreak that killed 800 people (hundreds of times less than the number of people that died in 2003 from an ordinary pneumonia. – Ed.) Many see the connection between that disease and MERS, as both spread easily between hospitals. They have similar symptoms – fever and cough that turns into pneumonia.

But MERS has higher mortality. If with SARS, it was 8%, MERS has as much as 65%. Fortunately, the new disease does not spread as quickly as SARS did. So far, the cases of MERS have occurred in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Tunisia. High morbidity and mortality in Saudi Arabia are even more disturbing because next month millions of Muslim pilgrims will come there to perform the Hajj in Mecca.