Preventing healthcare-associated transmission of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS): Our Achilles heel

Hanan H. Balkhy, Trish M. Perl, Yaseen M. Arabi

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

Abstract

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus is the most recent among the Coronaviridae family to jump species and infect humans. Major healthcare associated MERS outbreaks have occurred in the Middle East and Korea that affected both patients and healthcare workers. These outbreaks were characterized by intra and inter-hospital spread and were exacerbated specifically by overcrowding, delayed diagnosis and appropriate use of personal protective equipment. Recent experience with this virus emphasizes the importance of compliance with infection control practices and with other interventions addressing patient triage, placement and flow within and between healthcare facilities. Our Achilles heel remains compliance with the best infection prevention practices and their harmonization with patient flow. Both infection prevention compliance and maintenance of patient flow are critical in preventing healthcare-associated transmission of many of these emerging infectious diseases, including MERS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-212
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Infection and Public Health
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2016

Keywords

  • Corona
  • Emerging pathogens
  • IHR
  • Infection control
  • MERS
  • Saudi Arabia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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