UPDATE: Continuing on my previous MERS reporting it is worth noting the Philippines has now confirmed another case of MERS. Disturbingly, the patient returned from Dubai on June 19th and apparently is only now being admitted and treated. Unlike South Korea, which aggressively quarantined and treated patients, it appears the Philippines were slow in identifying this case. Further, even with South Korea’s aggressive actions, MERS cases are still popping up on the peninsula. As such, it is likely we will see in the coming days and weeks another local outbreak of MERS, but this time in the Philippines. Considering the virus comes from the same family as some of the nastiest contenders for a flu pandemic and Asian is densely populated, the virus may spread more broadly. Although, it does not yet pose a pandemic threat, its ability to continue to spread and avoid being eradicated means this virus could still jump to the US and spread amongst our cities. As noted in my previous article, MERS has a death rate on par with Ebola and is spread easier so is not a virus to be taken lightly.
Recommendation: Continue to monitor the spread of the virus, review your pandemic preparedness, and update your supplies. Currently, MERS is of very minimal risk to you, but this could change rapidly. As of now, there is no need to modify travel unless you are planning to visit the Philippines. In this case, take extra flu prevention precautions and monitor yourself closely for flu like symptoms. In the event I see MERS clusters beginning to appear and spread, I will post new updates and recommendations.
By Guiles Hendrik
July 6, 2015