Infection control lapses lead to spread of MERS, study finds

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When Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus came on the worldwide scene, it was a relatively unknown virus. Still today, not much is known about MERS-CoV, but a recent study identified infection control gaps as why the virus spread in the 11 published cases of its healthcare-associated transmission.

The study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, focused on 10 studies covering 11 cases of possible or confirmed transmission of the virus in healthcare settings, where gaps in care were identified in all events.

The virus can survive for at least two days on hospital surfaces and can also be transferred through vomit and diarrhea. MERS-CoV is present for 16 days in respiratory specimens and stool, and up to 13 days in urine.

"Patients with confirmed or suspected MERS-CoV infection should be cared for under contact and droplet precautions until testing results," the study's authors wrote.

Further study is needed on if the infection control gaps that led to MERS-CoV transmission in healthcare settings were due to the use of personal protective equipment, hand hygiene, procedures, environmental cleaning or triage.

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