WHO Announces Outbreaks Of Two Rare, Deadly Diseases
The World Health Organization announced outbreaks of two deadly diseases on Monday and Tuesday.
The first announcement focused on a sudden, unexplained case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the United Arab Emirates. The patient was a 28-year-old male from Al Ain city in Abu Dhabi who had no direct contact with any other patients, or any known source of the virus.
The patient visited several medical centers before receiving a diagnosis, and came into contact with at least 108 people before he was treated. Most people who have contracted MERS-CoV have either been in contact with another patient or dromedary camels, who are the natural hosts of the virus, WHO noted.
As the patient did not fit any of these known trends, WHO stated that member states really need to carefully review any unusual patterns of illness, and anything related to an uptick in cases. Since 2012, there have been 2,605 known cases of MERS-CoV, and at least 936 associated deaths.
On Tuesday, WHO announced a significant outbreak of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) in Peru, a rare, understudied neurological disorder that varies in clinical severity. Cases came from different regions of the country, which typically sees 20 cases or less per month. Between June 10 and July 15, Peru reported at least 130 suspected cases, with 44 confirmed thus far.
A majority of those infected were adults under the age of 30, and children under the age of 17. More than half of reported cases were in male patients.
The often-fatal disease has no known cure. The cause of GBS is not fully understood by science, but a majority of cases are believed to be linked to a virus or bacteria.