South Korea: Now South Korea is to begin trials of an experimental plasma treatment for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) virus which has now killed 19 more people with their infection.

The Plasma treatment – which has already proved useful for tackling many other deadly diseases, including Ebola – uses blood from patients who have successfully fought off the same infection.

Till the date, the number of MERS virus infected people has been reaches more than 150 in the country.

Bloodbag MERS treatment
Bloodbag MERS treatment

On Tuesday 17, March, Germany also reported that its first death from the disease of MERS virus.

“The 65-year-old man died in a clinic in the north-western city of Osnabruck”, German media reports say.

The South Korean health ministry said two hospitals would begin the plasma treatment trials for preventing citizen form MERS virus.

The outbreak in South Korea originated from a 68-year-old man who had travelled to the Middle East. He was diagnosed as the country’s first MERS patient last month.

Four new cases of MERS virus infection were reported there on Tuesday, as well as three deaths.

South Korean official’s emphasis that the number of new cases is decreasing, but there is still widespread fear and misinformation.

Health workers are spraying disinfectant inside karaoke rooms and other businesses. In schools and colleges teachers are sprinkling salt on school grounds in a misplaced attempt to protect themselves as many schools reopen this week.

There is currently no cure or vaccine that can protect people from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) virus infection.

The disease is caused by a coronavirus from the same family as the one that triggered China’s deadly 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and is most likely spread by coughs and sneezes.

What is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) Virus:

  • MERS is caused by a coronavirus, a type of virus which includes the common cold and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).
  • The First cases of MERS infected emerged in the Middle East in 2012, and the first death in Saudi Arabia in June that year.
  • It is not known for certain how it is transmitted. It is possible the virus is spread in droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • Patients have a fever; cough and breathing difficulties, but MERS can also cause pneumonia and kidney failure.
  • Around 36% of reported patients with MERS have died – there is no vaccine or specific treatment for MERS infected patient.
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