Just in case you were running out of things to be scared of, a new SARS-like virus


The good news is that it doesn’t seem to be transmitted via the air from person to person so it appears “[COLOR=#000000][FONT=Verdana]that people must come into direct contact with the virus, such as by touching something an infected person has coughed or sneezed on.”[/FONT][/COLOR]

Something mentioned in the magazine version but not online, which is odd, is that this particular virus doesn’t grab on to the same proteins as the SARS virus so it’s not clear if work done there will be useful here.


They have discovered the first case in the United States (a health care worker who traveled from Saudi Arabia to the United States):

Here is the Wikipedia entry for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus, or MERS outbreak:

Here is entry for the virus:

Here is the entry for the disease:

How big is this going to get?

First US case reported today in Munster IN. I grew up near there.
Looks scary.

30% mortality.

It’s probably not going to spread too widely - as mentioned above, it can’t travel by air, and the health care worker who was infected apparently spent a decent amount of time in Saudi Arabia before he caught it. It’s still disturbing, though, especially the mortality rate . . .

Might be time to start pricing tickets to Madagascar. :wink:

Um… no.

Reference to a flash game called Pandemic where you try to wipe out the world with a disease. Madagascar famously would close its airports and shipping ports the first time someone sneezed making most games end with “World infected except for Madagascar”.

The health reporter on the radio was sort of playing this down saying that despite the Munster person taking a bus from Chicago to Munster, the medical authorities weren’t overly concerned as repeated prolonged exposures were needed to spread it.

My first read was that they were warning people who may have been with the person in question on a plane. Now there’s a bus involved? Next think you know there will be a report that he took a cab from the bus station to where ever and then used a communal bike which he left at a mall that he staggered through before stopping in at a Tastee Freeze for a Big Tee Burger and an Oreo Freeze.

If you want to worry about something health related this is your go to scare:

Imagining the Post-Antibiotics Future

It is truly frightening.

So, it’s in Munster. I’ve been very annoyed by them saying “it’s in Indiana”. Uh… WHERE in Indiana? It’s a fairly large state. Is it in farm country? One of the urban areas? What? Even if no one outside Indiana has heard of some bitty town those of us living here might want to know.

(If anyone is wondering - Munster is in the north west corner of Indiana, it’s basically a Chicago suburb.)

You know, when we get these outbreaks and they announce something like “30% morality” I can’t help but wonder if the stats are skewed towards those sick enough to hospitalize and may be skipping people in the community who have such mild infections they never even go to the doctor. Think of West Nile Virus - it’s no joke if you wind up sick enough to land in the hospital, but for every person that ill with it there’s something like 200 who just think they have a “bug”, feel off for a few days, and never bother to go to a doctor.