Wednesday, January 1, 2014

MERS Totals Rise; Kidneys May Hold Clue to Transmission

January 1, 2014

Corona virus
Health officials are monitoring two additional cases of MERS, one in Saudi Arabia and another in the UAE.

The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, (CIDRAP) reports a 57 year old man is in intensive care in Riyadh. The man suffers from underlying medical conditions and has no travel history.

In the United Arab Emirates, a 59 year old asymptomatic woman is in isolation with the virus. Her husband, aged 68, previously died of MERS.

WHO has officially confirmed MERS caused the death of a 73 year old Saudi man who passed away on December 17. This brings the total laboratory confirmed cases to 176, which includes 74 fatalities.

In other MERS news, a report in Virology Journal by Christian Drosten looked closely at the link between MERS and renal failure, which is uncommon among corona viruses.

Researchers found that kidney epithelial cells reproduced almost a thousand times more virus than bronchial epithelial cells. This unusual trait of MERS is not yet understood.

Researchers recommend epidemiological studies analyze kidney problems associated with MERS and suggest that the virus may be shed with urine. This connection could explain the 'untraceable transmission chains' which continue to infect new victims from an unknown source. The study also suggests that MERS patients may benefit from early use of renoprotective treatments.

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