HAVANA._ The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has called on all the sector‘s personnel in member countries to familiarize themselves and remain up to date on infection management for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

In light of the possibility of the appearance of episodes related to the disease, of which more than 165 cases and 30 fatalities have been recorded in South Korea, the PAHO has alerted to the importance of knowing everything about this condition and in particular about the measures that should be adopted to confront a suspected case.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has called on all the sector‘s personnel in member countries to familiarize themselves and remain up to date on infection management for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).Given that the clinical symptoms of MERS-CoV infection are similar to those caused by other respiratory viruses, it is not always suspected or promptly identified.

The PAHO stressed that to date, knowledge about the clinical characteristics of the infection is limited while there is no specific prevention or treatment such as a vaccine or anti viral drug, which is why strict adherence to infection prevention and control measures is vital.

The continental organization has also recommended vigilance of severe acute respiratory infections and the thorough investigation of any unusual patterns.

The PAHO does not, however, consider screening at entry points to a country or international travel or trade restrictions necessary in this regard.

MERS is a respiratory condition caused by a new coronavirus, first detected in Saudi Arabia in 2012. The majority of cases of human infection by the pathogen have been, although not easily transmissible, attributed to person to person infection.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has called on all the sector‘s personnel in member countries to familiarize themselves and remain up to date on infection management for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).The PAHO bulletin emphasizes that close contact is necessary for contagion. Certain scientific studies suggest that camels have represented an important reservoir for the corona-virus and a source of human infection, although the specific virus transmission function of these animals or the transmission route (or routes) are unknown.

Although Saudi Arabia has reported most cases, to date, 25 countries on 5 continents have also done so. The biggest recorded outbreak outside the Middle East is that in South Korea.

MERS infection symptoms comprise fever, cough, expectoration, pneumonia, respiratory insufficiency and kidney failure. Gastrointestinal symptoms have also been noted.

According to the World Health Organization, the virus more seriously affects older people with immune deficiencies or chronic diseases such as cancer, chronic lung conditions, and diabetes.

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