CDC article about a new virus spread by camels

When I see that the CDC has expedited an article for publication and it goes out “ahead of print”, I get the feeling they found something they’re not ready to yell “run for your lives” yet, but they’re filing it under the ominous “you might want to stand back a little” category.

The CDC just posted they are watching a new Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) that first popped up back in 2012.

This virus is pretty nasty. It spreads from camels to humans and results in a serious respiratory tract illness which leads to pneumonia.

In the article, it says that in “187 laboratory-confirmed human cases… 97 were fatal.”

Um… that’s a 52% mortality rate. A better than 50/50 chance if you get this virus, you’re gonna die.

The CDC article is full of solid medical terminology that goes into how they’re trying to nail down this bug, but the short version of what they know so far is that young camels are infected more often than older ones, and since the first half of each year is when most young camels are born due to local breeding patterns, that’s when they expect an upturn in this disease.

Unfortunately, they’re still not 100% on if it completely comes from camels and there’s still a big unknown on what causes the young camels to become sick in the first place. (“Phylogenetic analyses supported the conclusion that transmission occurred between camel and patient, but no direction was implied (e.g, camel to human vs. human to camel)”).

It is still limited to the countries in the Arabian Peninsula, but like every educational disaster movie has shown, it only takes one sick person on a plane to New York to bring civilization to its’ knees.

OK, that’s not really going to happen, but this is still not good.

Link to the CDC article is here.

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