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MERS-CoV Returns in Kuwait

Update Date: Nov 13, 2013 11:44 AM EST

MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronoavirus), which started in Saudi Arabia late last year, has reappeared in Kuwait. The officials announced today that this incidence is the first case to have emerged since the outbreak. The patient is currently in critical condition. No other information has been provided.

MERS-CoV is a viral respiratory illness that causes fevers, coughs and shortness of breath. The severity of the illness ranges from case to case. During the outbreak, the illness affected a total of nine countries, which were France, Italy, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. There were 153 reported cases with 64 deaths according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Scientists noted that the virus could be transmitted under close contact situations. Based on research, scientists believe that the virus might have started in dromedary camels that live in the Middle East.

Despite these numbers, a recent study suggests that a larger number of cases most likely went unreported. The researchers believe that for every one confirmed case of MERS-CoV, health care professionals probably missed five to 10 cases. The experts from the Imperial College London, the University of Edinburgh and the Institute of Pasteur in Paris believe that the cases that do not need intensive care were probably not recorded. This study was published in The Lancet.

"We conclude that a slow growing epidemic is underway, but current epidemiological data do not allow us to determine whether transmission is self-sustaining in man," the authors wrote according the The Star.

Whether or not MERS-CoV has gone underreported, government health officials might start to prepare for a potential outbreak now that Kuwait has reported the first case during this time of the year.

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