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WHO issues a preliminary warning against MERS threat to India

WHO issues a preliminary warning against MERS threat to India

Millions of expatriates from Middle-east likely to spread the virus

Camel virus, technically called the ‘Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus’ (MERS) has become a carrier of death for many affected in the South Korea. The capital city of S.Korea, Seoul has so far reported 160 cases, with 24 people reported to have died in the city. The prevailing situation in the city is likely to spread in India, given its huge population on 6 million expatriates in the Middle East. Considering various statistics and facts of India’s proximity to the Middle East, The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a vigilant advisory to keep in check all possible loopholes of being affected by the fast spreading virus.

This epidemic situation now, first occurred in South Korea on May 20, and thereafter has affected many people with the sickness. Millions of commuters in the city are taking precautions to cover their faces with surgical masks at the airport, with stringent measures for screening the passengers being followed here. Also, the demand for masks has shot up with many chemists reporting a ‘no stock’ situation now. Also, the biggest hospital in South Koreas has been unable to control the situation in time, leading to an alarming spread of this deadly virus.

As reported by the news wire agency, Press Trust of India, Top WHO official Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director of WHO (South-East Asia Region), New Delhi urged India ‘to enhance surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections, focus on early diagnosis, and step up infection prevention and control procedures in health-care facilities’.

She triggered an alarm by saying, “Strong health systems using strict infection control measures would be the key to prevent the spread of the virus and protect healthcare workers and others.”

Unfortunately, there is no immediate medical remedy to the problem except some strong observations made by the WHO to analyse the outbreak. The health organisation is stated to have said the virus affects people who are the in direct contact with such patients, or are the clinical care takers. This leads to a very sensitive situation for a country like India where an outbreak can multiply by unimaginable proportions, given the huge travelers from the Middle East-the epicenter of MERS virus. There are however, growing fears that the MERS virus could find its way to India after the Haj pilgrimage later.

As reported by the PTI, any person suffering from MERS will show signs of common cold except that this deadly virus has claimed many lives. Some of the common signs such as cough followed by fever and shortness of breath are the initial few symptoms of the virus infection. In extreme cases, the infection may lead to pneumonia and kidney failure as severe symptoms. At the moment, recording the travel case history including a close scrutiny of the medical records is important to curb the spread.

The original host of MERS virus is supposed to be camels and in 2012, it first showed up in Saudi Arabia and since then over 1200 cases have been reported worldwide and about 500 people have died because of this new infection. The virus has a high mortality rate of 36 per cent (as per the statistics and figures reported by PTI).

Source: PTI
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