Via The National, an English-language news source in the United Arab Emirates: Serious questions about Mers-cov remain, UAE doctor says. Excerpt:
Serious questions remain regarding the understanding of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (Mers-cov), says a top infectious diseases doctor in the UAE.
“We still don’t know much about Mers-cov in children, they seem to recover very fast,” said Dr Nawal Al Kaabi, the director of the infectious disease, paediatric residency programme at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City.
“Some cases are clearly linked to animals, and some cases are clearly not linked to animals,” she said at the Arab Health Conference in Dubai on Monday.
Dr Al Kaabi said there had been 12 Mers-cov cases in the UAE, including a child, which resulted in five deaths.
She said in November, a 38-year-old Emirati man, his 32-year-old wife and their eight-year-old son were found to be infected. “The mother did not survive, but the husband and son both recovered. We were really surprised just how fast the boy managed to recover,” she said.
Ninety-eight per cent of Mers-covs infections are found in adults, according to Dr Al Kaabi.
Last month, a pregnant woman with Mers-cov gave birth to a healthy baby girl who tested negative for the virus. However, the mother died.
Dr Al Kaabi said some specialists were still speculating about the airborne transmission of the virus
She warned that all medical staff should take thorough infection precautions when dealing with patients suspected to have Mers-cov.
Medical carers of Mers-cov patients made up nearly half of such cases, she said.
“One case in Dubai involved a 33-year-old male medical staff member who was caring for a 68-year-old Mers-Cov patient. He did not follow proper procedures, got infected and died as a result,” said Dr Al Kaabi.
Results of a test on Dubai camels were published this week by the National Centres for Animal Disease (NCAD) in Canada. Having obtained samples from the animals in 2005, NCAD tested them for Mers-cov and found that nine out of 11 camels tested positive.
The two camels that tested negative were both dromedary calves and remained negative over the five months they were studied.
NCAD concluded that infection with Mers-cov, or a closely related virus, is not a new occurrence in camels in the Middle East.
Mers-cov infections between people and animals may have been happening for several years. A pandemic may be less probable unless significant evolution of the virus enables accelerated infection and spread potential among people.