Is MERS the Next Global Pandemic?

MERS, also known as Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome, is essentially another version of the acute respiratory syndrome that had people so scared several years ago. At the time, people were afraid to fly on commercial aircraft or do anything else that involved being near other people. As the name implies, it started in the Middle East and since that time, it has progressed to a number of other countries. Right now, Korea is going through a crisis as a direct result of this disease.

The current crisis started in late May when a single hospital in Seoul, Korea diagnosed a patient with the disease. The problem is, there was another patient at the hospital at that time who was infected and it was not caught by medical professionals. Since that time, they suspect that this individual has come into contact with more than 800 people. There are over 150 confirmed cases of the disease at this hospital alone, and 20 people have since died. This is a sobering fact when you consider that it has been less than a month since the first patient was diagnosed. In addition, it highlights the ease with which this disease is transmitted. It is not transferred just through casual contact, but instead, it can become airborne, potentially infecting every person that comes into the area.

MERS is a serious respiratory disease that typically causes severe respiratory distress, and in some cases, respiratory failure. While some patients are able to recover from the disease, many are not and there are many things about it that are not yet fully understood. The things that are currently happening in Korea only serve to remind everyone of the possibility that this could be the next disease that begins to infect people all over the world. It is definitely not time for panic, but it is time for people to be cautious and be fully aware of their surroundings.