Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has caused severe illness and death in people from several countries. On May 2, 2014, the first confirmed case was reported in a traveler to the United States.
On May 2, 2014, the first confirmed case of MERS-CoV was reported in a traveler to the United States. This is the only confirmed case in the United States. CDC is working very quickly to investigate this first U.S. case of MERS and respond to minimize the spread of this virus. We expect to learn much more in the coming hours and days. We will share updated information through the CDC MERS website (http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/index.html).
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. It is different from any other coronavirus previously found in people. We don't know where the virus came from or exactly how it spreads. However, it likely came from an animal source. All reported cases to date have been linked to the Arabian Peninsula.
Most people infected with MERS-CoV developed severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath. About 30% of people with MERS have died. Most of the people who died had an underlying medical condition. Some infected people had mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.
Countries With Lab-Confirmed MERS Cases
Countries in the Arabian Peninsula with Cases
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Countries with Travel-associated Cases
- United Kingdom (UK)
- United States of America (USA)
For information about cases and deaths by country, visit World Health Organization (WHO) (http://www.who.int/csr/don/archive/disease/coronavirus_infections/en/index.html)
It is different from the coronavirus that caused SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in 2003. However, like the SARS virus, MERS-CoV is most similar to coronaviruses found in bats.
What Are Coronaviruses?
Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surface. They are common viruses that most people get in their lifetime. These viruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses.
Coronaviruses may also infect animals. Most of these coronaviruses usually infect only one animal species or, at most, a small number of closely related species. However, SARS coronavirus can infect people and animals, including monkeys, Himalayan palm civets, raccoon dogs, cats, dogs, and rodents.
Global Partners Working to Understand MERS
The World Health Organization (WHO), CDC, and other partners are working to better understand the possible risks from MERS-CoV to the public's health. Learn about what CDC is doing about MERS (http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/faq.html).
CDC Does Not Recommend Anyone Change Travel Plans
CDC does not recommend that anyone change their travel plans because of MERS. The current CDC travel notice is an Alert (Level 2), which provides special precautions for travelers. Because spread of MERS has occurred in healthcare settings, the alert advises travelers going to countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula to provide healthcare services to practice CDC's recommendations for infection control of confirmed or suspected cases and to monitor their health closely. Travelers who are going to the area for other reasons are advised to follow standard precautions, such as hand washing and avoiding contact with people who are ill.
May 6, 2014
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