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Read on to find out more information about the MERS virus, what it is and how it is spread.

First reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, the MERS virus is a respiratory viral illness that is caused by the coronavirus. Currently, all cases of the disease are linked to countries in and around the Arabian Peninsula. According to statistical information, around 30 percent of people who were confirmed to have MERS-CoV have died. As of March 2014, the virus had spread to about 18 countries including Turkey, Italy, Tunisia, Egypt, France, Greece, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Symptoms Of MERS

Although some people with the virus will experience mild symptoms, there are also those who experience no symptoms at all. However, the most common symptoms of the MERS virus include; fever, cough, malaise, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and kidney failure. As the disease progresses, it becomes worse and can lead to respiratory failure and death.

Source Of Transmission

Medical science does not know exactly where MERS comes from, although it’s been speculated it is transmitted from an animal source. MERS-CoV has been found in camels in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and Egypt. Camels in many other countries have also tested positive for the antibodies to MERS, which means they were previously infected by the virus or some type of closely related virus.

It is possible that people could contract it after coming into contact with an infected camel, although more research is needed to determine the exact role that bats, camels and other mammals may play in transmission.

MERS Risk Factors

This virus can infect a person regardless of their health status, age or gender. People who have recently traveled to the Middle East and have developed an acute respiratory infection should be tested for the MERS virus. The elderly, immunocompromised individuals and those with debilitating health conditions are at a higher than average risk of developing the disease. Another major risk factor with the disease is simply being in contact with someone who has the virus, because it spreads easily through respiratory droplets and secretions.

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