Thursday 27 February 2014

Snapdate: Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

Click on image to enlarge.
Chart update time for human cases of the MERS-CoV.

Chart #1: lab confirmed(Ministry announced) human cases of MERS by region of acquisition. MERS is a disease with its activity firmly rooted in Saudi Arabia.

Chart #2: age and sex distribution pyramid. MERS is a disease of older males.

Click on image to enlarge.
Chart #3: here we see total and just the fatal MERS-CoV cases in humans, by month and year. I've kept the same value on the y-axis (left side) for ease of comparison. This chart highlights that there is no obvious seasonality for cases. In 2014 we're seeing more in Jan and Feb than we did in 2013 and in 2013 cases trickled along at similar levels from April onwards. This, if anything, supports the sporadic acquisition of cases and rejects the idea that, at least among the hospital-based population that is the main one to have been tested to date, MERS-CoV is not a seasonal virus.

Click on image to enlarge.
Chart #4: this one shows as the slowly spreading outbreak. More disturbingly, it shows the very gradually increasing PFC. Currently, 43% of MERS cases have died; 2 in 5. Guess its worth remembering that MERS-CoV may a puny virus in camels and in terms of transmission efficiency; but not at all puny in regards to what it does to the older usually male and mostly already ill people it infects. It is quite an efficiently lethal virus in that sub-population.

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