MERS-CoV Cases Increase to 70 with 39 Fatalities

Posted on June 25, 2013

The number of MERS-CoV cases - the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus - have increased to 70. There have been a total of 39 deaths. The World Health Organization (WHO) says it has received lab-confirmed cases of MERS in the following countries: Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and the United Kingdom have reported cases, but these cases involved people who had been traveling in the Middle East.

A recent report said MERS spreads easier and is deadlier than SARS. This may turn out to be true, but it is also possible there are infected people with no symptoms that are not being recorded and this is skewing the results. CBS NEws reports that Dr. Mark Pallansch, director of the Division of Viral Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, says, "Right now our assessment of risk in the United States is still low. We do not believe there is reason for undue concern."

WHO is currently not advising special screening at points of entry with regard to the MERS outbreak. WHO is also not currently recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions.