In previous updates, I have warned that there was a high potential for MERS to spread rapidly during the Hajj Pilgrimage. Based on recent confirmed cases of MERS in Saudi Arabia, it appears that MERS may indeed get an excellent opportunity to breakout globally. If even a very small percentage of the millions that have embarked on the Hajj Pilgrimage return home infected with MERS, we will be dealing with a potentially global pandemic.
Case and point. South Korea just spent months aggressively trying to contain a small outbreak. If even a dozen more infected individuals had mingled through Seoul while contagious, South Korea could still be dealing with a major healthcare crisis that overwhelmed their system. Further, MERS in the opinion of many experts is far worse than even Ebola because it is more contagious and just as deadly even though it hasn’t received the same attention.
LMS is upgrading its safety precautions for the time period beginning this week and extending until 30 days after the Hajj is complete. For you safety during this period, we recommend that travelers avoid Saudi Arabia. Further, avoid anyone that has recently traveled to Saudi Arabia or has been in contact with others traveling to Saudi Arabia. If you know someone that has and they are exhibiting flulike symptoms, recommend they get evaluated at a hospital for MERS immediately and self-quarantine until you know that the person is clear of MERS. If you begin to suffer flulike symptoms after potential exposure, get medical help immediately. Remember, once the pilgrimage is complete it will take some people weeks to return home. As such, medical monitoring during the virus incubation period must be conducted for a prolonged period of time post pilgrimage before one can conclude the virus did not break out of the Middle East.
Respective of hygiene and preventative measures, continue to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, face, inner nostrils, and mouth. Further, use an HOCL compound such as “Briotech” to decontaminate and kill the virus on contact.
By Guiles Hendrik
August 20, 2015