Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), also known as camel flu is a viral respiratory infection caused by the MERS-coronavirus (MERS-CoV). MERS-CoV is a betacoronavirus derived from bats Symptoms may range from mild to severe. They include fever, cough, diarrhea, and shortness of breath. the virus to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and it has been referred to as Saudi Arabia's SARS-like virus. MERS-CoV is thought to spread from and infected person to others though respiratory secretions, such as coughing. In other countries, the virus has spread from person to person through close contact, such as caring for or living with an infected person.
MERS can range from asymptomatic disease to severe pneumonia leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Kidney failure, disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), and pericarditis have also been reported.Although MERS-CoV has been shown to antagonize endogenous interferon (IFN) production, treatment with exogenous types I and III IFN (IFN-α and IFN-λ, respectively) have effectively reduced viral replication in vitro. Another proposed therapy is inhibition of viral protease or kinase enzymes. Researchers are investigating a number of ways to combat the outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, including using interferon, chloroquine, chlorpromazine, loperamide, and lopinavir, as well as other agents such as mycophenolic acid and camostat.
The virus does not appear to pass easily from person to person unless there is close contact, such as providing unprotected care to an infected patient. There have been clusters of cases in healthcare facilities, where human-to-human transmission appears to be more probable, especially when infection prevention and control practices are inadequate. The clinical spectrum of MERS-CoV infection ranges from no symptoms (asymptomatic) or mild respiratory symptoms to severe acute respiratory disease and death. A typical presentation of MERS-CoV disease is fever, cough and shortness of breath. Pneumonia is a common finding, but not always present. Gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhoea, have also been reported. Severe illness can cause respiratory failure that requires mechanical ventilation and support in an intensive care unit.
No vaccine or specific treatment is currently available. Treatment is supportive and based on the patient’s clinical condition.The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products, including milk and meat, carries a high risk of infection from a variety of organisms that might cause disease in humans. Animal products that are processed appropriately through cooking or pasteurization are safe for consumption, but should also be handled with care to avoid cross contamination with uncooked foods. Camel meat and camel milk are nutritious products that can continue to be consumed after pasteurization, cooking, or other heat treatments.