Recently there has been news of a virus that is causing some worldwide concern. The virus that has been called MERS is a type of coronavirus. Other coronaviruses include the common cold and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). MERS is a new virus, however, not to be confused with SARS and the situation is, currently, that The World Health Organisation are considering issuing a world wide public health alert.
In Saudi Arabia reports say that more than 100 people who have been infected with the MERS virus have died since an outbreak of the virus there in 2012. Elsewhere in the Middle East cases have been confirmed in Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, in Europe in France, Germany, Italy, and the UK, in Africa in Tunisia and Egypt, and most recently cases have been reported in the USA.
In answer to the question of how dangerous the virus is experts say that MERS is not very contagious because if it were very virulent there would have been more cases. But around a third of those infected have died. In fact, outside of the body the virus can only survive for about a day and is easily destroyed by cleaning agents and detergents. In the UK public health experts have classified the risk to the public as very low.
The greatest concern, however, is the potential for this new virus to spread far and wide. So far, person-to-person transmission has remained limited to some small clusters. There is no evidence yet that the virus has the capacity to become a pandemic. The fact that camels may spread the virus might explain the high incidence in the Middle East. However air travel always gives the possibility for a virus to be transported inter continentally. The virus spreads person to person and a severe attack will require intensive care as airways and breathing are affected. Symptoms are similar to flu or a bad respiratory infection.
As the summer holiday season approaches, the best advice for travellers is to observe normal hygiene and avoid close contact with anyone who is ill. It is also strongly advised that you keep some form of antiseptic wipe with you to clean hands and other surfaces. At BeSafe we have developed a hand cleanser that should be considered as essential as your passport when you are travelling abroad. Where facilities may be basic, our BeSafe cleanser will ensure that whether or not there is running water you can make sure that your hands are clean. You can also use the cleanser to wipe surfaces and other utensils so that you know that you are being as safe as you can on your travels. Getting sick miles from home is no fun, and with life threatening viruses out there our simple but effective BeSafe cleanser will go a long way to keeping you safe.