Wednesday, May 21, 2014

MERS Testing & Massive Hepatitis Alert in Springfield Missouri, CONNECTED?

Updated: 5/22/14
The local department of health says these are "two completely separate incidents" (see sources below), however a prudent risk posture would indicate exercising caution as if they were related.

A confluence of two public health situations in Springfield Missouri involving MERS and Hepatitis-A have caught our attention.

This morning Missouri Public health authorities have reported at least two people in Springfield are being tested for MERS;  This evening Missouri Public health authorities are asking around 5,000 people to come in for medical evaluation related to a Hepatitis exposure at a Springfield Red Robin Restaurant.

The question of course is: are these two events related; and if they are, is such subterfuge permissible from a public health perspective? The safe course of action is to prepare as if they are related.

When we look at the MERS data we perceive a virus that is primarily transmitted through feces (as is Hepatitis-A). We also suspect that there is a minimum contamination level below which one might test positive for MERS-CoV via blood testing, but not develop the syndrome. Over all we perceive a low risk from MERS (with some cultural/religious based transmission exceptions); however we don't discount that our analysis might be incorrect (or that mutation could alter the risk).

The number one preventative is to avoid fecal contact. In that regard, we have a conjecture that MERS may be somewhat resistant to soap; through hand washing is important.  The number one proactive measure is to wash with Hibiclens surgical scrub as it continues to kill enveloped virus for hours after having washed with it.

So, the question for Missouri Public Health is: Is the Hepatitis incident at Red Robin even remotely connected in ANY WAY to the possible MERS cases in Missouri? It would be wise to be prepared as if it does.


MERS Likely Spread Via Islamic Palliative Healthcare

MERS-CoV Infection Via Diarrhea & Eastern Toilet Habits, What You Need To Know

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