The World Health Organization (WHO) officially stated that Thailand reports another case of MERS after the first one arrived around seven months ago. It’s unknown why the frequency of the virus has increased, but it has called for several people to become quarantined. The effects are well known, as well as the disease’s ability to spread.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is commonly found, as expressed in its name, in the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia. That is where the virus was first identified back in 2012, and most of the cases have occurred in the Arabian Peninsula. It’s unknown yet where the disease originates, and it’s usually uncommon for it to occur outside of hospitals. However, it’s potentially very infectious and, like any respiratory disease, can be transferred through coughing or mucus.
As of May 2015, over 1,626 people have been diagnosed with MERS in 26 countries, and 40% of them unfortunately perished to the condition.
That is why Thailand is taking extra precaution to make sure no more incidences will occur. The disease was diagnosed in a 71 year old man who travelled from Oman to Bangkok, according to WHO. For now, he’s been taken to the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Disease Institute, in the capital city’s metro area.
In order to make sure of the disease’s potential spreading is stopped, authorities have quarantined 32 people that the man might’ve come in contact with. This includes his son, taxi drivers, hotel staff, and passengers who were on the same plane as him. It’s an unfortunate precaution that will hopefully not result in more MERS cases.
It’s not a disease that spreads very easily, but there are certain people in hospitals who may be more vulnerable. Anyone with diabetes, kidney or lung problems are especially at risk of contacting MERS, one that caused several outbreaks in Saudi Arabia. Patients on ventilators can easily become the source.
Symptoms of MERS include fever, coughing, shortness of breath, and, in some cases, diarrhea. These can go from mild to severe, and may even cause death in certain circumstances. Some experts believe that camels are carriers of the virus, but it’s unclear how they might encourage its spreading.
It’s unfortunate news for Thailand that they are now facing this crisis. Notices have been put up for travelers, which might discourage them from visiting the country.
The economy is already faltering, and they can ill afford a step back in the tourism industry that accounts for 10% of GDP. This year, Thailand was expecting an all time high of 32 million tourists, higher than 2015’s 29.9 million. It’s in the hopes of the officials that no more people have been infected and that their industry won’t take a hit.
Image source: newsweek.com