I always cheer up when Shane Granger posts about outbreaks on his Random Analytics blog, and never more than near the end of a frantic afternoon trying to catch up with the MERS news. Here's his latest: Comparing H7N9 and MERS by Key Occupations. It's a long post with some excellent graphics. Excerpt:
As for the MERS occupational data the first point that needs to be made is there is not enough data (publically available occupation data for MERS sits at just 27%). What data that is there is dominated by Health Care Workers who represent 74% of the known occupations (at least according to my Excel and I dig a little harder for this stuff than most other flublogists that concentrate on the medical side). Two points to be made here:
1. The fact that Health Care Workers dominate the occupational space in MERS-CoV is important but given that HCW are usually secondary infections it is not as important as finding a possible primary occupational vector. An example of a primary occupation might include farming or racing, especially those that might relate to the camel industry.
2. If you are going to explore the surge in Health Care Worker cases then start to limit the use of the term ‘Health Care Worker’. Health Care Workers are legion in titles, roles, functions and job families. Without going into detail about grades a great example would be a Nurse with specialities in A&E, Aged Care, Child Health, Community, ICU, General, Midwifery, Neo-Natal, Paediatric, Psych and Theatre. I commenced this blog with a live job ad for King Faisal Hospital in Riyadh looking for Australian and New Zealand Theatre nurses (Registered, two years minimum Theatre experience).
To sum up, the attention given to Health Care Worker cases in the current MERS-CoV outbreak and the almost 7 out of 10 lack of detail on other occupations might make for scary charts but it is not the main game. Stop MERS in the field and you stop MERS in hospitals.