Sharp Rise In MERS Cases May Mean The Virus Is Evolving NPR

OSTERHOLM MichaelMERS should be on the front pages, lead every news report… (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome)

Total cases jumped 100%+ in two weeks… mortality 42% or worse, no vaccine (though 5 major pharmas are working on one)

“It took us over a year to get the first hundred cases of this viral infection,” Dr. Michael Osterholm tells NPR. “Now in just the last two weeks, we’ve had a hundred cases. … There’s a major change occurring that cannot just be attributed to better case detection. Something’s happening…

“When humans readily transmit [a virus] to humans, that’s what will cause a worldwide outbreak,” Osterholm says. “We are very concerned that … with what we’ve seen over the last two weeks … we may be at that point now.”

“It’s time for the world to wake up and demand that the Middle East do the kind of job that we need done to stop this transmission [of MERS],” he says, “and to protect the rest of the world.”

The spike in cases, especially among health care workers, could be a signal that the virus has reached a tipping point and could be ready to spread out of the region, says Osterholm, who directs the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota (CIDRAP).

LINK TO NPR STORY