Sars-like Mers Virus Was Gotten From Bats


Hospitals should have an infection diagnosis and control protocol in place for Mers coronavirus as it spreads rapidly in confined crowded places such as hospitals and animal markets, a specialist said.

The doctor said it is important to know the travel movement of those infected and all hospitals should be aware of the symptoms, which are high fever, difficulty in breathing and coughing.

“It’s known that those affected are the elderly, those suffering from chronic disease, people who are immune-suppressed [with drugs], and organ transplant patients,” said Dr Ram Shukla, specialist in infectious diseases.

“One possible scenario how it spread is that a bat could have infected goats. It spreads rapidly among animals, specially those in closed and crowded places such as an animal market or a consignment of animals on a ship.

“We need not panic as its transmission rate is not rapid at the moment and is termed as mild to moderate. One theory is that it could have spread to humans that were in close contact with the infected animals. It is the first virus whose origins are suspected to be from the Middle East. It is adaptable and has jumped to humans from animals.

“At the moment the transmission rate of the virus is mild to moderate but its killing rate is higher than Sars, he said.

The Saudi authorities, meanwhile, are asking that pilgrims coming to the country for the annual Haj in October should be vaccinated against meningococcal meningitis and yellow fever. But so far a flu vaccination is considered optional.