May 19, 2014 – MERS
ANCHOR LEAD: WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE MERS VIRUS? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Is MERS a public health emergency, as the WHO seems poised to declare? Not yet, but the organization is monitoring the situation closely and global health authorities are on high alert. Redonda Miller, an internal medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, reviews what we know right now about MERS.
MILLER: From my understanding of the MERS virus, it’s a coronavirus that has been around for over a year, and the recent outbreak probably stems from inattention to hand hygiene and quarantine and contact isolation but there has been no evidence to date that the virus has mutated in any way that would make it more virulent, so I think we can take comfort in that. It is transmissible, we think through droplets, but it’s not hugely contagious. From what we know right now it feels as though it is a virus that can be contained. :32
Miller emphasizes that infection control protocols such as handwashing are more important than ever. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.