(RxWiki News) The number of countries being affected by MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus), continues to grow, further putting officials worldwide on alert.
The first MERS-CoV cases in Italy were reported over the weekend, after health officials warned last week of a global threat.
"Talk to your doctor about precautions to take when traveling."
On Saturday, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that a 45-year-old man who recently returned from travel to Jordan had been infected with the virus. This report was followed with news on Sunday that two close contacts of the patient had also been diagnosed with MERS-CoV.
The newest patients are a 2-year-old girl and a 42-year-old woman. According to the WHO’s latest releases, all three Italian patients are in stable condition.
MERS-CoV appears to be quite a deadly virus, with over half of the confirmed cases so far ending in deaths. On Sunday, the WHO reported that since September 2012, there have been 53 confirmed infections worldwide, 30 of which have resulted in death.
As previously reported by dailyRx News, last week the Director-General of the WHO, Margaret Chan, MD, called the virus “...a threat to the entire world.”
Dr. Chan also called for global efforts to manage and understand the disease, saying MERS-CoV “...is not a problem that any single affected country can keep to itself or manage all by itself.”
The WHO is not currently recommending any travel or trade restrictions in the face of the virus — which had previously been called the novel coronavirus or nCoV. The organization is, however, recommending increased vigilance worldwide from healthcare providers and public officials.
The WHO urged medical staff to be on the lookout for any unusual cases of severe acute respiratory infections (SARI), including strange patterns or gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, especially in those who have recently traveled to the Middle East, where the bulk of cases have occurred.
MERS-CoV infections have now been reported in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe in the countries of Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and the United Kingdom.