The World Health Organization has scheduled an emergency meeting on Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the wake of a second traveler to the U.S. having been diagnosed with (MERS) infection, health officials say. MERS is a respiratory illness that begins with flu-like fever and cough, but can lead to shortness of breath and pneumonia. MERS belongs to the coronavirus family that includes the common cold and SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which caused some 800 deaths globally in 2003.
The MERS virus has been found in camels, but officials don't know how it is spreading to humans. It can spread from person to person, but officials believe that happens only after close contact.
Maziar Divangahi, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and an Associate Member, Dept. Microbiology & Immunology at McGill University, Meakins-Christie Laboratories
Expertise: cellular and molecular mechanisms of host defense against Influenza and Mycobacterium tuberculosis
*Prof. Divangahi may be interviewed in English
More on MERS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/CORONAVIRUS/MERS/INDEX.HTML