WHO: Basic hygiene can help prevent MERS spread - 8 News NOW

WHO: Basic hygiene can help prevent MERS spread

Posted: Updated:
  • NationalMore>>

  • Cooler weather aids crews fighting Washington fire

    Cooler weather aids crews fighting Washington fire

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:41 AM EDT2014-07-22 14:41:34 GMT
    Firefighters and local authorities are heartened by weather forecasts that call for continued cooler temperatures and higher humidity as they battle a destructive wildfire that has charred hundreds of square miles...More>>
    Firefighters and local authorities are heartened by weather forecasts that call for cooler temperatures and higher humidity as they battle a destructive wildfire that has charred hundreds of square miles in Washington...More>>
  • Man accused of enslaving woman to be sentenced

    Man accused of enslaving woman to be sentenced

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:32 AM EDT2014-07-22 14:32:43 GMT
    A man accused of enslaving a mentally disabled woman in northeast Ohio is set to be sentenced in federal court in Youngstown.More>>
    A man accused of enslaving a mentally disabled woman in northeast Ohio could receive life in prison when he's sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Youngstown.More>>
  • Egypt calls for Israeli, Palestinian peace talks

    Egypt calls for Israeli, Palestinian peace talks

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:43 AM EDT2014-07-22 13:43:40 GMT
    The U.S. and Egypt sought Tuesday to find an end to two weeks of bloodshed in the Gaza Strip, and officials raised the possibility of restarting stalled peace talks between Israel and Palestinian authorities as a...More>>
    The U.S. and Egypt sought Tuesday to find an end to two weeks of bloodshed in the Gaza Strip, and officials raised the possibility of restarting stalled peace talks between Israel and Palestinian authorities as a necessary...More>>

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - A World Health Organization official on Thursday urged millions of Muslims making the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to exercise basic hygiene as mass gatherings pose risks of spreading the Middle East respiratory syndrome.

The U.N. agency has recorded 827 cases of MERS and 287 deaths, mostly in Saudi Arabia. The virus is believed primarily acquired through contact with camels and spread among humans through body fluids and droplets.

Hand washing and keeping away from coughing people are simple ways to prevent the virus' spread, said Mark Jacobs, WHO Western Pacific region director for communicable diseases.

He said there's a low chance of its spread in most settings, but health workers caring for MERS patients, people exposed to camels and those in large gatherings are at some risk. "Any gathering of large numbers of people can produce, can result, in risks of any sort of infectious diseases," he added.

Jacobs said cases of MERS have been found in a number of countries but they are linked to cases in a small number of countries in the Arabian peninsula.

"What we have been seeing is outbreaks in those countries but the occasional case in a traveler," he said. Unless the virus changes, the risk of spread in the Asia-Pacific region is small, he said.

Philippine health authorities last week urged Muslim Filipinos, especially the elderly and those with chronic ailments, to postpone their annual pilgrimage to Mecca because of MERS worries. About 6,500 Filipinos are expected to join the October pilgrimage.

Mecca sees a constant stream of pilgrims throughout the year from around the world, and their numbers swell during the holy month of Ramadan, which begins in late June. The hajj pilgrimage - which Islam says is a duty of all able-bodied Muslims to perform once in their lives - brings even more gigantic crowds: Some 2 million pilgrims from all over the world, packed into the close quarters as they visit the Kaaba, Islam's holiest site, and other locations in and around Mecca for a period of about five days. This year, hajj starts in early October.

Since the coronavirus was first discovered in 2012, there have been two annual hajj pilgrimages to the city, and neither saw instances of pilgrims being infected.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KLAS. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.