MERS, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – How Really The Problem Is?

MERS was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. When I heard about this virus and understand that it was from the same class of SARS, I wasn’t surprise but ever since was waiting in anticipation for its wide spread like SARS. I know it will, no doubt with the high level of travelling among international flyers due to the globalization.

I remember how scary SARS was. At the time, I was working in a healthcare environment, and I mean hospital. Not only admin staff but even the medical and nursing personnel was fearful with the little knowledge of SARS. So is with MERS. With most virus infection, there is hardly any know cure. So is MERS. Neither is there vaccination. The virus is real, the spread likewise is real. I was geared up and prepared since then. Only till in May 2015, the first Korean case sparks the spread of the more cases. This may happen to Singapore too. I have no doubt too.

And so what is MERS?


MERS Virus

Some of the known facts about MERS is that it is a coronavirus. The alarming infection morbidity and mortality resembled to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

The clinical feature when one is infected is high fever of >38 degree Celsius, cough or difficulty in breathing.

It seems the virus is linked to the Middle East. And it is believed that the spread is through close contact. It seems that from the cases the spread is from human to human. But researches suspect that Camels is the reservoir of MERS virus.

The mortality rate is at 36% and for most cases the risk is in the older male with chronic illnesses such as respiratory diseases.


What must you do?

World Health Organization has a very good webpage relating to MERS update and what must one do in general.

  1. Consult a doctor when you have high fever of >38 degree Celsius, cough or difficulty in breathing and have been to the Middle East or any high risk countries within the last 2 weeks

  2. Wash your hands with soaps and waters frequently and maintain good hygiene

  3. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough

4.  Avoid close contact with others when you are sick


When MERS Descend At Singapore

Should MERS started is infection to Singapore population like SARS, it is going to cause a economy downfall. But more importantly, each individual has to be responsible for stopping the spread by

  1. Stay at home when you are sick. Especially so when you are on quarantine. This is extremely important in helping to stop the spread like wild fire.
  2. Wear a mask (N95 mask) when at crowded places. This will protect yourself against others

  3. Wash your hand with disinfectant. Carry some with you and use it whenever necessary




Raoul J. de GrootSusan C. BakerRalph S. BaricCaroline S. BrownChristian DrostenLuis Enjuanes, Ron A. M. FouchierMonica GalianoAlexander E. GorbalenyaZiad A. MemishStanley PerlmanLeo L. M. PoonEric J. SnijderGwen M. StephensPatrick C. Y. WooAli M. ZakiMaria Zambon, and John Ziebuhr Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV): Announcement of the Coronavirus Study Group. J Virol. 2013 Jul; 87(14): 7790–7792.