Coronavirus: Here’s what you need to know

The coronavirus (MERS – Middle East Respiratory Symptom) is in the same family as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), and was first reported in humans in 2012 Download at no time. To date, 688 people have been infected in Saudi Arabia, and 282 people have died from it – which is 50% more than the previous official death toll of 190.

The virus is most prevalent in the Middle East, and confirmed reported cases have come from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, The UAE, France, Germany, Tunisia and the UK.

What are the symptoms of MERS?

When symptoms start, they’re similar to cold symptoms, but they can become severe very quickly, as the virus attacks the respiratory system. Typical symptoms include a high fever and a cough which can lead to pneumonia and kidney failure.

How is MERS transmitted?

MERS is spread through close contact with an infected person, and infected people can also spread MERS to others in healthcare settings, such as hospitals and clinics. All reported cases have been linked to countries in and near the Arabian Peninsula, and most people either lived in, or travelled from the Peninsula before they became ill.

Should I be concerned about travelling to risk countries?

There haven’t been any travel warnings issued for any of the countries related to MERS. However, people who have travelled to the Middle East should see their doctor as soon as possible if they develop a fever and respiratory symptoms such as a cough or shortness of breath within 10 days of returning from the Arabian Peninsula or surrounding nations.

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