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AARC Member Explains Novel Coronavirus on FOX News

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June 3, 2013

A new SARS-like coronavirus is making its way around the world, and AARC member Michael Anderson, MD, was the go to person for more information on FOX News last week.

Dr. Anderson, who serves as chief medical officer at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, OH, told the interviewer that while the new virus is cause for concern, the monitoring capabilities of the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have improved remarkably since the original SARS outbreak, and even since the H1N1 pandemic of a few years ago.

In an interview with the AARC he also pointed out that the majority of the cases so far have been in the Middle East. “There have been no cases in the U.S. to date,” he emphasized.

Still, Dr. Anderson believes health care professionals, including respiratory therapists, must remain on guard for this new virus, which has just been officially named the “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus” or MERS-CoV. MERS-CoV can cause problems ranging from difficulty breathing to severe pneumonia and kidney failure. “There have been 50 cases identified so far, and 27 have died,” says the physician. “Patients mainly require respiratory support.”

Dr. Anderson recommends that RTs read up on this novel coronavirus on the CDC website so they will be aware of the case definitions, as well as guidance on case investigation, infection control, and specimen collection and shipment. Testing to confirm the virus must be done at the CDC.

If you or one of your colleagues suspects a patient may have this new virus (such as a patient with severe respiratory illness who has recently traveled to the Middle East), he says the best strategy is to contact your infection control department and let them investigate.