A MERS warning has been issued for both the Indiana and Florida 420Nurses Chapters as a precautionary measure.

MERS outbreak emrgency room shotIn the last week, first Indiana and then Floria have both reported confirmed cases of  Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome or MERS.

“On April 24, the patient traveled by plane from Saudi Arabia to London, then from London to Chicago,” the CDC said. “The patient then took a bus from Chicago to Indiana. On the 27th, the patient began to experience signs of illness, including shortness of breath and coughing. The patient went to an emergency department on April 28th. Because of the patient’s symptoms and travel history, Indiana public health officials had him tested for MERS.”

The Florida person, a Saudi male, waited in a busy emergency room, exposing hundreds of potentially already weakened people to the virus.

MERS first showed up in 2012, when it killed an elderly Saudi man. It worries health experts because it’s related to severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, which swept around the world in 2003, infecting around 8,000 people and killing close to 800 before it was stopped. Both conditions are caused by coronaviruses, members of a family of viruses that usually cause common cold symptoms and that infect a wide range of mammals.

MERS may come from Joe Camel

The most recent research traces it to camels, although most cases seem to be spread from one person to another.

MERS virusThe virus can survive on surfaces, and might spread when people touch something contaminated. SARS appears to have spread that way, and many other viruses do, too.

CDC and WHO say the virus has spread many times in hospitals, dialysis centers and other healthcare facilities, so they are cautioning health workers to take special precautions.

“Infection prevention and control measures are critical to prevent the possible spread of MERS in health care facilities,” WHO says.

“Health care workers should be educated, trained and refreshed with skills on infection prevention and control. It is not always possible to identify patients with MERS early because some have mild or unusual symptoms. For this reason, it is important that health-care workers apply standard precautions consistently with all patients — regardless of their diagnosis — in all work practices all the time.”

While MERS kills about a third of the patients who show symptoms, some people have been found later to have been infected but they never got sick. Most of those who have been severely ill have been elderly or had other illnesses such as diabetes or kidney disease.

The story is presented as a public service to those who place emphasis on the first Blood Moon being the first Horseman named ‘pestilence’.


PT Rothschild

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