June 25, 2015 – MERS


Anchor lead:  Is the recent MERS outbreak in Korea something to worry about? Elizabeth Tracey reports

MERS took Korea by storm, infecting many and killing several in a short period of time. Andrew Pekosz, a viral infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins, says this outbreak points to the need to isolate patients with infectious diseases in hospitals.

Pekosz: Whether it be things we’re more familiar with like influenza, or even the common cold, in a hospital scenario where you have more individuals there who are sick or have poor immune systems because, well, that’s why they’re in the hospital, those are the places where you really want to practice good infection control, and make sure that every effort has been made to take individuals who are showing signs of something that might be consistent with an infectious disease and while treating them also separating them from everybody else there for other reasons.   :28

While the CDC and other federal agencies are on the lookout, most experts seem to feel the risk for a MERS outbreak domestically is fairly low, although physicians are being warned to ask about travel history when they see a patient with a flu-like illness.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.