|A coronavirus that may cause SARS. (transwikied from en.wikipedia.org) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
The new respiratory virus responsible for an ongoing outbreak in the Middle East poses a serious risk to hospitals because it is easily transmitted in health care facilities, according to a new study.
A team of infectious-disease experts traveled to Saudi Arabia to investigate the spread of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in four Saudi hospitals in May. They concluded that the new virus was even more deadly than the related SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus that caused an outbreak in Toronto hospitals in 2003.
Not only is MERS-CoV easily transmitted from patient to patient, but also from hospital to hospital when sick patients are transferred, according to the study, which was published online June 19 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
"Our investigation showed some surprising similarities between MERS and SARS. Both are very deadly viruses and easily transferred between people, and even between health care facilities," team member Dr. Trish Perl, senior hospital epidemiologist for Johns Hopkins Medicine and a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a Johns Hopkins news release.
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