The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the world has caused serious alarm in Pakistan, said Dr Muhammad Najeeb Khan Durrani, the Surveillance Coordinator Communicable Diseases, Islamabad. Authorities are concerned about the 100,000 Hajj pilgrims who stand most vulnerable to the new virus, he explained.
An outbreak of the MERS-CoV was first reported in Saudi Arabia last year. With the death of over 38 people out of the 78 cases in Saudi Arabia during recent months, officials have already begun alerting and training employees at government-run hospitals in Islamabad, said Dr Durrani who is also a member of the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network.
About 50% of those with the illness die. Luckily, the virus does not seem to be highly infective but, as with any virus, that could change. The worrisome thing is that the annual Haj is ending today.
Attracting over 100,000 people from around the world, this presents a possible path for spread of the disease around the world. Over 11,000 pilgrims will return to the US.
And we will be blind to its effects in the US.
With the CDC shutdown, the ability of states to inform each other about any disease outbreak is gone. The CDC coordinates and examines all the state’s data. When it is open.
And the state organizations that deal with outbreaks are also hampered. Because many of them receive grants from the Federal government.
In Hawaii, for example, they only have enough money to make the Oct. 5 payroll. If the shutdown is not resolved soon, they will not be able to pay state workers tracking disease.