JEDDAH: ARAB NEWS
Published — Wednesday 11 September 2013
Last update 13 September 2013 4:16 pm
Health experts have expressed their concern at the increasing number of coronavirus infection reports and resulting deaths in different parts of the country.
They urged the public to take precautionary measures against contracting the fatal disease, as 96 people have already been diagnosed and 47 have died since the first case of MERS-CoV was reported last year.
Precautionary measures include avoiding places where people gather in large numbers, constantly washing and sterilizing hands with medical gel and wearing and changing masks frequently.
People should also consult a doctor if they have the flu.
“Great care must be taken when coming in contact with patients,” said Ashraf Ameer, a consultant in family medicine and director of the International Medical Center in Jeddah. Common symptoms of MERS include a high temperature and cough, followed by severe inflammation of the lungs and difficulty in breathing.
Ameer said that it was a doctor’s duty to inform health authorities if he or she comes in contact with infected patients. A doctor should also advice those who interact with infected patients to inform medical authorities immediately.
He called on health authorities, hospitals and schools to beef up public awareness activities about the nature and symptoms of the disease, including how it spreads and means of prevention.
Dr. Elham Qattan, consultant doctor of virology at the Taiba University, said that there is currently no vaccine against the MERS virus, expressing hope that a vaccine could be produced following the creation of a synthetic corona virus.
Qattan said that the virus had a peculiar potential to mutate into another strain with greater power, especially if a patient happened to have a weak immune system.
She said that the best way to avoid contracting MERS was to keep a patient in isolation, and not to touch him, wear protective masks as a precaution against the virus entering a healthy body through air and keep humidity at the lowest.