Malaysia reported the first case of MERS-CoV early April 2014 when a 54-years old man killed after travelled to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for his pilgrimage trip from 15 to 28 March 2014. Up to date, MERS-CoV or also known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus has killed 93 people worldwide while another 252 cases are laboratory-confirmed.
Several Middle East countries have been affected by the virus including Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and cases with direct or indirect connection to the Middle East have been reported by France, Germany, Britain and Tunisia.
MERS-CoV is a viral respiratory illness caused by coronavirus. It was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and it is different from other coronavirus found in people before. It is also totally different from SARS virus in 2003. Those who are infected by MERS-CoV may develop severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
If you develop these symptoms within 14 days after travelling to Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries, you are advice to see your healthcare provider and mention your recent travel. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) advises that people to follow these tips to help prevent respiratory illnesses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact, such as kissing, sharing cups, or sharing eating utensils, with sick people.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs.