Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Saudi homes in on camels in bid to combat MERS  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - AFP - 12/05/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - AFP) Saudi authorities have issued fresh warnings on how to handle the desert kingdom's wealth of camels, thought to be the source of the mysterious MERS coronavirus in the Gulf state.

The Middle East Respiratory System has now killed 147 people out of 491 infected in Saudi Arabia since it first appeared in 2012, with cases in the kingdom accounting for the vast majority registered globally.

With scientists still struggling to understand the illness and no vaccine or antiviral treatments available to combat its spread, Saudi authorities have introduced new guidelines to try to stem the trickle of new cases reported nearly every day.

The agriculture ministry has urged Saudis handling camels to wear masks and gloves to avoid catching the disease, in a statement published in local media.

The warning came after scientific studies commissioned by the health ministry suggested a connection between camels and the virus.

MERS is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus that appeared in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died.

Like SARS, it appears to cause a lung infection, with patients suffering coughing, breathing difficulties and a temperature. But MERS differs in that it also causes rapid kidney failure.

- Virus common in camels -

Earlier research had shown the virus was "extraordinarily common" in camels for at least 20 years and may have been passed directly from the animals to humans.

Camel meat must be cooked and its milk boiled before consumption, the agriculture ministry said, echoing recommendations from acting health minister Adel Fakieh following a visit by World Health Organisation experts last week.

Former health minister Abdullah al-Rabiah warned last month against assuming that camels were behind the virus, insisting that "one should not jump to conclusions".

He was dismissed days later on April 21 without official explanation and replaced by Labour Minister Fakieh who immediately promised "transparency" in providing the public and media with information about MERS.

The ministry now publishes a daily detailed bulletin on its website updating the numbers of MERS infections and deaths.

Last week, Fakieh also announced the sacking of the head of Jeddah's King Fahd Hospital, where a spike in MERS infections among medical staff sparked panic among the public.

After its five-day mission to Jeddah, the WHO pinpointed breaches in its "recommended infection prevention and control measures" as being partly responsible for an increase in infections in the Red Sea city.

- No changes for pilgrimage -

Amid rising concerns over MERS's spread, the WHO is preparing for an emergency meeting to discuss the virus -- the fifth time the UN health agency's emergency committee has met about the mystery coronavirus.

Months before the annual hajj pilgrimage to the Muslim holy sites in Mecca and Medina, the number of reported cases is climbing steadily.

Jeddah will be the main point of entry for pilgrims from overseas when they arrive in September.

Pilgrims still trickle into Mecca for the lesser pilgrimage -- the umra -- that can be performed at any time, especially during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which starts in July.

Saudi Arabia's hajj ministry has not yet taken any special measures related to MERS.

The WHO also said it does not advise special screening at points of entry, nor does it currently recommend any travel or trade restrictions, "including for upcoming pilgrimage travel to Saudi Arabia".

Fakieh has announced an awareness campaign to help stop the disease's spread, and doctors, academics and journalists have launched initiatives of their own to encourage the public to adopt new hygiene measures recommended by the government.

"The campaign targets public gatherings, hospitals, and markets... to raise awareness among people," said Alia Banaja, who runs a campaign in Jeddah, where some people have started wearing masks, a measure only recommended in hospitals.

MERS cases have also been reported in the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and even the United States, with most involving people who had travelled to Saudi Arabia or worked there, often as medical staff.


 


AFP




  MENA News Headlines
 Jan 31 2015 - Vodafone Qatar revenue up 21 percent in 9MMENAFN
(MENAFN) Vodafone Qatar's said its total revenue grew by 21 percent to USD474.59 billion for the nine months ended December 31, 2014, The Peninsula Qatar reported.The company's mobile customer base ...

 Jan 31 2015 - Qatar Airways to acquire 10 percent of IAGMENAFN
(MENAFN) Qatar Airways announced that it has bought nearly 10 percent of the parent company of British Airways and Spain's Iberia, deepening wealthy Qatar's business ties to Europe, Arab News ...

 Jan 31 2015 - Saudi RCJY signs three deals worth USD138.25mMENAFN
(MENAFN) Chairman of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu (RCJY) signed three contracts worth USD138.25 million to provide essential equipment and develop industrial zones, Arab News ...

 Jan 31 2015 - Saudi- Outspoken prince to launch pan-Arab news channelThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) An outspoken, billionaire Saudi prince will on Sunday launch a pan-Arab satellite news channel aimed at challenging established networks in the region.Prince Alwaleed bin ...

 Jan 31 2015 - Qaeda in Yemen says France top enemyThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) The ideological leader of Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) said Friday that France had surpassed the United States as the top enemy of Islam.With the ...

 Jan 31 2015 - Qaeda group launches assault on Western-backed Syria rebelsThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria battled Western-backed rebels Friday as the jihadists pressed their bid to seize control of northern areas, a monitoring group and rebels ...

 Jan 31 2015 - Iraq- Air strike kills IS 'chemical weapons expert'The Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) A US-led coalition air strike killed a chemical weapons specialist with the Islamic State group in Iraq who once worked for Saddam Hussein, US military officers said ...

 Jan 31 2015 - FM honours Qatari missionsThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) The second annual general meeting of heads of Qatar's diplomatic, consular and representative missions abroad ended in the presence of the Foreign Minister H E Dr Khalid bin ...

 Jan 31 2015 - Qatar- Demand for books declines as craze for movies risesThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) The charm of printed words is fading away in Qatar and the craze for movies is peaking, according to report released by the Ministry of Development Planning and ...

 Jan 31 2015 - Qatar- HBKU hosts graduate students from USThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), hosted 25 faculty, staff and graduate students from ...

more...


 






Google

Electronic & Mobile Payment

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help