According to an international health mission, extra measures have to be taken so as to combat the spread of the MERS virus in Saudi Arabia, which is by far the country worst hit by this Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, or MERS-CoV. Reportedly over 20 countries have been affected by the MERS (UK, USA, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Qatar) but most cases have definitely been linked to the Middle East.
Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), along with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and Institut Pasteur, France organised a mission to Saudi Arabia to evaluate the situation and to also make specific recommendations to improve the surveillance, the prevention and the control of the virus.
So the members of the joint mission had talks with high-level representatives from the Ministry of Health, they also visited the Command and Control Centre, which has been conducting all activities involving the control of the MERS-CoV, and made a tour of the emergency and isolation facilities of the Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Hospital, as well.
“The Kingdom did a lot to control the MERS-CoV. We want to hear WHO experts’ feedback on the Kingdom’s progress but also where we can improve. The government is fully committed to implementing the right control and prevention measures and also to funding any activities needed to control this disease,”
Ahmed Bin Aqeel Al Khateeb, the Saudi Arabian Health Minister, explained in a statement.
As far as statistics are concerned, a total of 899 people have been infected in the kingdom; 382 of them have died since the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was identified back in 2012. But concerns rose significantly as the health ministry recorded 5 deaths Thursday alone, thus bringing to 16 the number of deaths since February 11. There is no cure or vaccine for the disease caused by this virus.
Researchers are currently trying to establish the cause of the infection. It is believed that it crosses over to humans from animals ,possibly camels. But by now, person-to-person transmission has remained limited to clusters. Nevertheless the WHO warns individuals to avoid raw camel milk and stay away from their urine and also to make sure the camel meat is properly cooked.