Tuesday, June 02, 2015

epidemiologically speaking

With Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) on the march in a couple dozen countries, including South Korea, people are starting to feel a bit paranoid. Not that I can blame them: in Seoul, the subway system is a huge vulnerable point when it comes to the spread of communicable disease: it's often packed, warm, and humid—the perfect playground for bacteria and viruses looking for a new home. It doesn't help that so much of the Korean public fails to cover nose and mouth when sneezing, or that that same public thinks a flimsy surgical mask is enough to prevent the spread (or the inhalation) of airborne pathogens.

My hope is that the South Korean government, and various private firms, will respond intelligently to this situation before it becomes a true crisis. MERS is a coronavirus like SARS, and South Korea weathered SARS just fine. Personally, I'm not too worried, but as I said, I do understand some of the paranoia. No one wants to be trapped inside a sardine can with a bunch of coughers who won't cover up.

Some interesting MERS-related info:

• MERS probably comes from Saudi Arabian camels.

• MERS doesn't seem to be all that communicable.

• WebMD kindly provides a MERS FAQ. Go thou and read.


1 comment:

TheBigHenry said...

The top bullet suggests a caveat for the middle bullet: "Unless you are into f*cking camels!"