GREENVILLE – More cases of Middle East Respiratory Virus, or MERS, have been uncovered in Saudi Arabia. A new review of the frequently deadly virus found more than 100 cases that had previously gone unreported.
That brings the new total to 688 confirmed MERS infections in the country, since the virus was first identified in 2012. Of those, 282 people have died, more than 40 percent.
Saudi Arabia has been the center for the disease. It has since spread to other parts of the world including the Europe and United States.
With the MERS outbreak and news about measles in Southeast Asia, if you’re planning a trip overseas, you might want to be aware of any health concerns.
Travel agents shared tips with FOX 11 on how to stay healthy abroad.
At Ambassador Travel in Oshkosh, Owner Susie Leib advises everyone to do a little research before going on vacation, particularly to any foreign countries.
“For vaccinations recommendations, travel warnings, things like that,” she said.
Before you leave you can check the CDC’s website on your phone or computer to see if there are any travel warnings where you’re going.
“It even can be a week before, or days before, just to make sure that you are aware,” Leib explained.
The CDC posts information like which countries you might want to avoid, or take serious precautions in, because of illness outbreaks. It also shows what vaccines or preventative medicine you might need before making the trip.
Rose Gray with Fox World Travel told FOX 11 it’s important to note there are required vaccinations for some countries and recommended vaccinations for others. It’s up to you if the vaccine is just recommended.
“That’s something that each individual has to decide on their own, if they have a compromised immune system, for example,” Gray explained.
Leib has one more tip, just in case anything should really go wrong, or you get seriously ill.
“Make sure you know how to get ahold of any consulate or the U.S. Embassy,” she said.
They can help you get care or protection if you need it.
And Gray told us, for just about any trip, consider travel insurance.
“Travel insurance would cover you in most cases if there was an outbreak in the country you were going to visit,” Gray explained.
The CDC has three levels of “travel notice” for countries. The first is a watch, the second is an alert and the third and most serious is a warning.
Right now the Arabian Peninsula is on an alert due to MERS, meaning you should take serious precautions if going there.