David Hill, professor of medical sciences and director of global public health program in the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University, was quoted in a HealthDay article on a respiratory virus that has been transmitted from animals to humans in Saudi Arabia.
“Since the first case of infection with the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus was reported from Saudi Arabia in the spring of 2012, there has been concern about the potential for this virus to cause a pandemic such as was seen with SARS in 2002 and 2003,” said Hill ”Thus, there have been extensive efforts to characterize the virus, to determine where it exists in the environment — that is, where it came from, whether it can be transmitted from human to human and, if so, how easily can the virus be transmitted?”
“The good news is that even after millions of persons gathered in close proximity to each other in Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimages for Hajj and Umrah, there were no cases of MERS [coronavirus] infection,” Hill said. “The risk for acquiring MERS [coronavirus] remains extremely low for those traveling to the Middle East. However, common-sense precautions should be exercised: avoid close contact with persons who have respiratory infections and wash [your] hands on a frequent basis.”