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MERS-CoV may reach a concerning ‘tipping point,’ infecting care providers

The spread of MERS-CoV in the Arabian Peninsula might pose a significant risk to the rest of the world.
The spread of MERS-CoV in the Arabian Peninsula might pose a significant risk to the rest of the world.

Efforts to contain the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have been ongoing since the virus was detected in 2012, but an uptick in the number of people infected with the ailment might serve as an indicator that the situation is getting much worse.

A majority of people who have been infected with MERS-CoV live in Saudi Arabia, but now people in neighboring country United Arab Emirates, as well as health care providers working with MERS-CoV patients are contracting the illness. More than 50 instances have been detected within the last week, proving that the virus is evolving in a way to spread to human beings faster, according to reports from NPR.

"It took us over a year to get the first hundred cases of this viral infection," Dr. Michael Osterholm, who directs the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told NPR. "Now in just the last two weeks, we've had a hundred cases. There's a major change occurring that cannot just be attributed to better case detection. Something's happening."

Since Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health has not yet found a confirmed source of MERS-CoV or developed a vaccine to protect citizens against it, Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabiah, who led the agency, was told to step down. The country's officials plan to continue working with the World Health Organization to find a solution to this situation and invited a drug company to see what they can do. CNN explained that out of 257 cases of MERS-CoV, about 30 percent of patients have died from the disease.

Symptoms of MERS-CoV are similar to those of the common cold. Anyone could come down with a fever, shortness of breath, pneumonia or kidney failure. Now that health care practitioners are concerned that a larger MERS-CoV outbreak will occur, business continuity consultants can help hospitals identify a plan to prepare for such a situation.