Via Arab News: Media blamed for panic over deadly virus. This is the full report, but click through to read the comments.
Several MERS patients who have fully recovered from the disease have said that there is an urgent need to dispel the myths and the hype that have plagued the Kingdom about the virus.
One patient, a 36-year-old who requested anonymity for fear of being avoided by friends and relatives, told Arab News of the difficulties of being a MERS patient.
“I really thought I could die thanks to an absence of accurate information about this disease,” they said. “Before contracting the virus, I had heard it killed anyone it afflicted. However, doctors told me I could fully recover and urged me to remain strong. My parents fully supported me and gave me natural remedies such as honey and ginger syrup.”
The patient said: “I spent three weeks in hospital with fever, cough and throat congestion. When I got my home, I remained quarantined in my room,” and added: “I would open my window in the morning to ventilate the room and would eat healthy food. I soon went back to normal.”
An Asian nurse, who had also made a full recovery from the MERS virus, told Arab News that she would have preferred to leave the Kingdom to be among her family.
“It is hard to be a patient in another country, much less with a virus for which there is no cure,” she said. “I spent four weeks in hospital. My colleagues and doctors supported me throughout. My parents, however, had urged me to come home.”
Several doctors have said that many MERS patients had not done enough to protect themselves from falling ill.
“Most MERS patients contracted the virus because they had recklessly come into contact with other people with the flu,” Mohamed Thabet, an emergency doctor at a private hospital, told Arab News.
Thabet also blames the media for the unnecessary frenzy that has engulfed the nation.
“The media has not played any role in quelling public fears,” he said. “In addition, the absence of a comprehensive awareness campaign has contributed to the sharp increase in the number of cases and has led people to think they are bound to die if they are inflicted with the disease.”
He added: “There are still many people who avoid dealing with previous MERS patients, but fail to stay away from people with the common flu.”
As long as we're blaming the media, I blame Arab News for not asking Dr. Thabet why "recklessly" coming into contact with flu patients causes people to contract MERS—a disease resulting from a very different virus.