NATION

Ministry In Ready Mode For MERS

Ministry of Health and Medical services has put in place strategies to combat the killer virus MERS – CoV (Corona Virus), if it reaches Fiji. In South Korea, the virus
13 Jun 2015 14:01
Ministry In Ready Mode For MERS

Ministry of Health and Medical services has put in place strategies to combat the killer virus MERS – CoV (Corona Virus), if it reaches Fiji.

In South Korea, the virus has killed 11 people.

The Government’s Multi Agency Technical Advisory Group (MATAG) has been mobilised to help in the preparations for border control, clinical management, laboratory testing and surveillance in anticipation of any suspected cases.

The ministry is spearheading the preparedness response as it monitors the spread of the virus.

The Health Ministry advises people to take the following precautionary measures;

– Frequently wash hands with soap and water

– Avoid undercooked meat or food

– Always ensure fruits and vegetables are properly washed before consumption

– If a traveller develops acute respiratory illness with fever, they should minimise close contact with others by wearing a medical mask, sneeze into a sleeve, or tissue, making sure that it is disposed of properly after use.

The MERS – CoV is a viral respiratory illness which was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and has spread to other neighbouring countries.

The virus has now reached Europe, Africa, and Asia with Korea and China being the latest countries affected.

The symptoms of MERS – CoV are severe acute respiratory illness, including fever, cough, body aches, sore throat, and shortness of breath, chills, chest pain and a general feeling of being unwell.

Symptoms

– Most people become unwell quickly, with fever, cough, shortness of breath, leading to pneumonia.
– Other symptoms include muscle pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea.
– There have also been people with mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. These people had close contact with others who were seriously ill.

How it spreads

-It is not yet understood how people are getting this disease.
– It appears to spread from an infected person to another person in close contact. The virus does not appear to spread easily from person-to-person and appears to spread only from people who are sick.
– Some people in the Middle East appear to have got the disease from infected camels and bats. How this occurred is not well understood.

People at risk
People living or travelling to the Middle East or who have had contact with other people with MERS-CoV may be at risk of getting the disease.
People with underlying illnesses that make them more vulnerable to respiratory disease may be at a higher risk.

Preventing infection
People who are travelling to the Middle East should wash their hands often, before eating, and after touching animals. Use a hand sanitiser if soap and water is not available.
People travelling to the Middle East who have underlying illnesses should avoid visiting farms and markets where camels might be present.
There is no vaccine for MERS-CoV.


How it is diagnosed

A laboratory test on fluid collected from the back of the throat or the lungs can diagnose MERS-CoV.
How it is treated
At the moment there is no specific treatment for MERS-CoV but early and careful medical care can save lives.
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