MERS: Important health matter for returning Hajj pilgrims
A total of 1, 26,798 Bangladeshi pilgrims went to Saudi Arabia to perform hajj this year. Hajj pilgrims started returning to the country after performing the holy Hajj. They should be aware of the diseases that exist in the Middle East. MERS-CoV infection exists in the countries of the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia. Dromedary camels are a major reservoir host for MERS-CoV and an animal source of infection in humans. MERS-CoV has been shown to spread between people who are in close contact. Transmission from infected patients to healthcare personnel has also been observed. So, like the pilgrims of other countries, Bangladeshi pilgrims have a chance to develop MERS.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory illness that is new to humans. It was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. The largest known outbreak of MERS outside the Arabian Peninsula occurred in the Republic of Korea in 2015. The outbreak was associated with a traveler returning from the Arabian Peninsula. The virus that causes MERS is called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
The most common symptoms of MERS are:
v shortness of breath
Associated symptoms may include:
v sore throat
v headache, body aches
v nausea and vomiting
Serious complications include:
v organ failure, particularly kidney failure
Many individuals with MERS may have a mild respiratory illness or no symptoms. Others will have severe respiratory distress. Severe illness can cause respiratory failure that requires mechanical ventilation and support in an intensive care unit. The virus appears to cause more severe disease in older people, immune compromised patients, and those with chronic diseases such as diabetes, chronic lung disease, renal disease and cancer. Approximately 35 per cent of reported patients with MERS have died.
There is currently no vaccine or definitive treatment available for MERS-CoV. Individuals with MERS often receive medical care to help relieve symptoms. Therefore its prevention and proper management are very important for public health. If you develop fever, cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after returning to the country from the pilgrimage, you should consult with a doctor. Considering this important public health matter, the Ministry of Health has taken the necessary steps to identify the suspected person immediately.