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NEW : Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, is a viral respiratory illness caused by Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus—MERS-CoV. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and acute respiratory illness, including pneumonia. Those infected can have gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, and kidney failure. Approximately 36% of reported patients with MERS have died.
There is no vaccine or antiviral treatment recommended for MERS-CoV infection. So, to protect yourself and your family from respiratory illnesses, we recommend everyday preventive actions. Wash hands often; avoid close contact with people who appear sick; avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as school furniture.
If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after traveling to countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula, or Korean peninsula contact the nearest government hospital and mention your recent travel. While sick, stay home from work or school and reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others. Although the majority of human cases of MERS have been attributed to human-to-human infections, camels are likely to be a major reservoir host for MERS-CoV in Arabic Peninsula and an animal source of MERS infection in humans.
If you’ve had recent close contact with a traveler from the Arabian or Korean Peninsula who has fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, monitor your health for 14 days, starting from the day you were last exposed to the sick person. If you develop fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, you should contact the nearest government hospital and mention your recent contact. If you’ve had close contact with a confirmed or probable case of MERS, contact the nearest government hospital immediately.
NEW:--- Current situation of seasonal Influenza in Sri Lanka
The influenza viruses
Seasonal influenza viruses are largely grouped as A, B and C. The Influenza A virus sub types H1N1 and H3N2 have been in circulation in the country causing influenza recently. In addition, there are two type B viruses that are also circulating as seasonal influenza viruses. Influenza C poses much less of a disease burden. Globally, seasonal influenza has shown a decreasing trend according to the World Health Organization surveillance data. Similarly in tropical Asia, influenza activity has been low during the recent past (WHO 2015).
Global burden of influenza
Based on FluNet (the World Health Organization global tool for influenza virological surveillance), during the latter half of April and early May 2015, 26.1% of the globally tested samples have been influenza A while 73.9 % were reported to be influenza B. Of the sub typed influenza A viruses, 53.8% were influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 and 46.2% were influenza A (H3N2).
Burden of influenza in Sri Lanka
During the first week of March 2015, seven suspected cases of influenza were reported to the Epidemiology Unit from Thissamaharama, which included five pregnant women and two children. Of the pregnant women two were positive for influenza A. However, on further investigation the cases were found to be geographically scattered.
Cases of influenza continue to be reported from all areas of the country. This year up to the third week of May, the Medical Research Institute has tested 252 samples positive for influenza; influenza A - 170 and influenza B – 82. Out of the 78 influenza A cases that were sub typed there had been 42 Influenza A H1N1 cases (National Influenza Center 2015). It was also noted that four pregnant women who died during the months of April and May have been found to be positive for influenza A.
Reference Epidemiology Unit, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka.