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Information on Middle East Respiratory Syndrome(MERS)
Name Administrator
Date 2014-05-19 12:03:18 Hit 4052
                Information on Middle East Respiratory Syndrome(MERS)


You may already know well about the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome(MERS). It is a disease prevalent in
Middle East area, but recently two Americans were diagnosed with this disease in the US. They were thought
to be infected while they were traveling the Middle East area. Global concern about this disease is also
increasing, and now we think Korea is not an exception.

MERS is an infectious disease caused by new Coronavirus and can be spread by close personal contact. It
can be considered if someone has high fever, coughing, shortness in breathing, vomiting or abdominal pain
within 2 weeks after traveling to the Middle East area (exposure to the virus).

According to the data collected as of September 2013, there had been 130 patients worldwide and about 45%
of them died of it. The average age of patients was 50, and the mortality rate seemed higher in patients with
chronic illness like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, or kidney disease. However, it is not conclusive
yet since this needs to be re-evaluated based on the average age and prevalence of those diseases among
the people in Middle East area. Nontheless, people with chronic illness had better pay more attention to
this disease.

MERS can be spread from person to person, but it is not thought to be highly contagious since no large scale
outbreak has been reported yet. However, you need to pay continuous attention and caution to this disease
since we still do not know well about the new Coronavirus. And no Vaccine is available yet.

In KAIST, there are many professors and students who travel to the Middle East area for research, and there
are also many foreign students coming from that region.

At this moment, there is no reason to cancel or postpone your travel to the Middle East area since the travel
guideline of the USA CDC is still "Alert, Level 2". However, you need to remember the following advices from
CDC when you travel.

- Wash your hands often with soap and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with
  unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact, such as kissing, sharing cups, or sharing eating utensils with sick
  people.
- If you have high fever, coughing, shortness in breathing, vomiting or abdominal pain within
  2 weeks of traveling to the Middle East area, see doctors immediately and report your
  travel to that area.

Korean Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Korean CDC) is also well awaring of MERS and has
already established a task force for this. If you have high fever, coughing, shortness in breathing in your
return flight from the Middle East area, you can be tested for MERS at the medical facility in Inceon International
Airport. (It will be informed in the airplane before landing.)

If those symptoms were developed after returning from your travel, you can still be tested at KAIST Clinic,
Public Health Center, or other medical institute. Your test sample will be transported to the Korean CDC, and it
will take about 1-2 days to get the result.

So far, there is no specific treatment for this virus. For a supportive treatment, you may need to be hospitalized
if you have severe symptoms like shortness of breath or others. There is no report of MERS yet in Korea.

We will provide undate(s) whenever we get new information. If you want to know further about the MERS,
please visit the USA CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/faq.html.  


KAIST Clinic

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