MERS Virus and Other Emerging Pathogens Pose New Health Risks (and How to Protect Yourself)

Most of us go about our daily lives without giving a second thought to the threats of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that inhabit our planet and could potentially pose dangers to human health. The reason we don’t have to continually worry about such risks is that our body’s own natural defense – our immune system – is specifically designed to fight off a wide range of pathogens that can compromise health and well-being.Middle East Respitory Syndrome

Yet, the world we live in is constantly changing and new threats do arise. One example is MERS (Middle East Respiratory SyndromeCoronavirus (MERS-CoV), which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. The majority of people who are infected with MERS develop severe respiratory illness. Symptoms of MERS include fever, cough and shortness of breath. 

The CDC estimates that about 30% of people infected with MERS have died. However, it’s important to point out that the CDC states most of the people who died after being infected with MERS had an underlying medical condition. Just as important to emphasize is the fact that a substantial percentage of infected people displayed mild symptoms or no symptoms at all...underscoring how the human immune system can successfully do battle with dangerous bodily invaders.

Indeed, MERS highlights the need to be aware of and vigilant about new risks from emerging pathogens, especially since the threat from MERS seems to be spreading.  In May of 2014, health officials confirmed that an American had been infected with the MERS virus, the first such case to be reported in the United States, this one in Indiana.

Recent History of Pathogen Emergence

The health system in the United States has been confronted by the emergence of quite a few pathogens and their associated illnesses as well as the onslaught of other newly recognized maladies during the past two to three decades. These include hepatitis C virus, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), Lyme disease, Legionnaires’ disease, E.coli, toxic shock syndrome, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome and Ebola virus.

Furthermore, many older pathogens have become renewed threats not only in America but in other parts of the world because of their resistance to antibiotics.  On the list of these pathogens is Streptococcus pneumoniae, an organism that is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in adults and of bacterial meningitis in children. Others on the list of either already demonstrating high resistance to antibiotics or thought to be gaining in their resistance to antibiotics include: Staphylococcus aureus which is better known as MRSA; Enterococcus faecalis and E. faecium which are associated with bloodstream infections; as well as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Salmonella, N. Gonorrhoeae, and parasites referred to as Cryptosporidium.

Importance of Immune Response in Battling Pathogens

In simplest terms, the human immune system’s primary job is to protect our bodies from any invading threat that can cause us harm...pathogens among them. You may not realize it, but your body actually has two kinds of immune response in its job of battling health risks.

The innate, or primary immune response provides immediate response to various bacteria, germs and other potentially harmful risks. The adaptive, or longer-term immune response is a more continual process that helps to protect the body from dangerous intruders over longer periods of time. Working together, the two kinds of immune response have the crucial responsibility of maintaining overall health.

Is It Possible to Enhance the Immune System?

As hard as the immune system works to defend us from pathogens and other harmful invaders, immune function can be compromised by a variety of different factors that are particularly prominent nowadays in the increasingly hectic pace of everyday life. These factors include lack of sleep, insufficient nutrition, stress, and not enough exercise.  There is little doubt throughout the medical community that addressing those factors with lifestyle changes can have a positive effect on the ability of the immune system to successfully fight pathogens and other health threats.

Ongoing research has also suggested that dietary supplements could play a beneficial role in immune function. This may be especially true with regard to innate immune response.  In addition to providing suggestions to their patients for improving their lifestyle by eating healthier foods, getting more sleep, reducing stress and exercising more, many doctors in the United States and other parts of the world have recommended Del-Immune V® nutritional supplements for immediate immune system support.


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