WHO: 'Don't drink potentially fatal camel URINE'

 
WHO: 'Don't drink potentially fatal camel URINE'
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World health chiefs have urged people to refrain from drinking camel urine or milk amid an outbreak of the MERS virus, the Daily Mail reports.

In an attempt to stem the spread of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) the World Health Organisation issued the guidance as the death toll reached nine.

Advice published on their website read: 'Food hygiene practices should be observed. People should avoid drinking raw camel milk or camel urine, or eating meat that has not been properly cooked.'

The virus is known to infect both humans and animals, and camel in particular, are thought to be a potential cause of the disease.

The news came as authorities in Seoul confirmed an 86-year-old woman, who had a pre-existing heart condition, had become the latest victim of the latest outbreak, yesterday.

MERS is a viral respiratory disease caused by a coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

It was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

Since the latest outbreak was recorded last month, 100 people have been infected with the virus, and another 2,500 people have been placed under voluntary or mandatory quarantine.

The WHO guidance was issued in response to the infection of a 75-year-old man who developed symptoms on May 11 and tested positive for MERS on May 25.

The patient owns a barn and keeps camels and young calves.

WHO experts note he has no history of exposure to other known risk factors in the 14 days prior to his symptoms developing.

The virus can affect humans as well as animals though scientists do not yet know exactly how people become infected with MERS-CoV.

It is a type of coronavirus - a large family of viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Typically a person infected with MERS will suffer a fever, cough and/pr shortness of breath.

Pneumonia is a common sign, as well as gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhoea.

In severe cases the virus can cause respiratory failure that requires ventilation and support in an intensive care unit.

The virus is known to cause more severe disease in those people who already have a weakened immune system, older people, and those with chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

It is a zoonotic virus, and it is thought humans can become infected via direct or indirect contact with camels that have the disease.

Human-to-human transmission is possible, but only via very close contact.

During this outbreak transmission among the human population has only occurred in healthcare settings, experts stressed.

WHO experts said: 'Food hygiene practices should be observed. People should avoid drinking raw camel milk or camel urine, or eating meat that has not been properly cooked.

‘Until more is understood about MERS-CoV, people with diabetes, renal failure, chronic lung disease, and immunocompromised persons are considered to be at high risk of severe disease from MERS‐CoV infection.

‘Therefore, these people should avoid close contact with animals, particularly camels, when visiting farms, markets, or barn areas where the virus is known to be potentially circulating.

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