Health reports from NBC4's Dr. Bruce Hensel

MERS: What You Need to Know

MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, is a new virus, but it is not yet a global emergency or epidemic

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Reports that the 3rd U.S. case of MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, spread thanks to a handshake have aroused fears about the mysterious virus. Dr. Bruce Hensel reports for the NBC4 News at 6 on Monday, May 19, 2014. (Published Monday, May 19, 2014)

    Note: The CDC said on May 28 it was incorrect in reporting that an Illinois man caught MERS from another person. See the updated story here.

    The mysterious virus MERS has been confirmed in more than 500 people globally, including three recent cases in the US. At least 171 people have died, according to the World Health Organization.

    NBC4's Dr. Bruce Hensel wants you to know these facts:

    • MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, is a new virus. But it is not yet a global emergency or epidemic.
    • The first case was in Saudi Arabia.
    • Two of the American cases were health workers in Saudi Arabia.
    • The third case caught it from the first man who contracted it, and they shook hands.

    The virus preads from one person to another, but not very well, and usually only with close and prolonged contact.

    The symptoms include:

    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath

    There is no specific treatment yet if you have the symptoms, but early intervention can improve chances of recovering.

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