Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus

1715 Words7 Pages
Author: John Larigakis, Boston University
April, 2014
Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Since its first description in 2012 by Dr. Ali Zaki1 the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus has been confirmed in the infection of 206 individuals and has resulted in 86 deaths2. The disease resulting from MERS-CoV infection presents with a fever of greater than 100.4ᵒF, acute respiratory distress syndrome and pneumonia associated with acute renal failure1. The origin of the pathogen is in the Middle East including the following countries: Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Beyond the Arabian Peninsula the following countries have also been affected: France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom2. If the number of cases, mortality, disease state and distribution of the infection are considered then it is justifiable to say that MERS-CoV is an emerging infectious disease that must be investigated, understood and followed closely in order to prevent the loss of life. MERS-CoV is a coronavirus of the subgenus known as the betacoronaviruses. It is an enveloped, positive-sense, single-stranded RNA species that infects the respiratory tract and kidney epithelium of both humans and animals3. This virus falls under the subgroup of betacoronaviruses known as lineage C which, up until this novel virus was identified, included isolates from bats. Indeed, the coronaviruses BtCoV-HKU4 and BtCoV-HKU5, which were only

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