How to prevent illness after handling a suspected MERS-CoV case

As health officials attempt to contain the spreading symptoms of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus (MERS-CoV), one fact is clear: Symptoms are far more severe when airborne than when coughed or sneezed. Though it’s unclear whether this is due to a difference in virus distribution or the severity of respiratory irritation, self-containment measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention generally involve touching surfaces that come in contact with an infected person. In some cases, this is best achieved with the use of an antigens program: A neutralizing vaccine, a form of anti-viral, is administered to individuals who’ve been exposed to a disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following advice for those who may have symptoms related to the MERS-CoV:

Eliminate unclean surfaces. Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently to prevent contaminating other people.

Be aware of compromised immune systems. Antigens programs can be administered to vulnerable individuals who do not have the ability to complete treatment or recover, such as infants under 6 months of age, individuals with health problems such as cancer, cancer survivors, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and those who have had close contact with an infected person.

When an individual is considering using an antigens program, consider the following:

Is your office or home office or workplace a workplace of risk? How are your overall health risks related to your employment?

Are you healthy enough to support the course of the antigens program?

Are you satisfied with the antigens program? Do you have confidence in your health care provider’s training? If you need testing, are you satisfied with the options available to you?

Are you taking the antigens programs as directed by your healthcare provider?

Most individuals who have received a reinvigorated antigens program or if you have another healthcare provider with whom you’ve shared this information will do just fine, but you should always consult with your healthcare provider before initiating a new antigen program. In the United States, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends that individuals who are in areas at risk for respiratory infections for which antiviral treatment may be available (including the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America) begin the right serum antigens program or will cease using their currently used antitoxin program. Individuals who wish to continue using current antigens or antitoxin programs, however, may continue to do so. Individuals living in these areas should report any symptoms of respiratory illness to their health care provider.


Practice good personal hygiene

Follow directions of your antigens program

Ask your healthcare provider about additional protection options

If you have questions, call the CDC’s Antibodies and Antibodies Program Hotline at 1-888-232-2247.

At this time, MERS-CoV is not transmitted through the air and is not known to be spread person-to-person. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s top recommendations for protecting yourself from MERS-CoV include:

Don’t share food or drink with anyone who has MERS-CoV.

Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer regularly.

Avoid close contact with individuals who are ill, especially those who have limited immune systems.

Don’t re-enter your home if you think you may have had contact with an ill person.

Cheryl Gelfand has been a registered nurse since 1979 and executive director of the New York Nurses’ Association since 1994. The author blogs about health care at Mayo Clinic Effect. For the latest health news and information, follow @NYNAwNurse on Twitter or visit our website,


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