Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV): a viral infection identified in September 2012 in a number of patients in Saudi Arabia that rapidly appeared to spread to other regions of the world. As of the end of May 2013, cases had been described in France, Germany, Qatar, Jordan, and Britain. The identified virus is known to be a member of the coronavirus family. Other viruses from this group are known to cause mild to severe respiratory illnesses. The SARS virus is also a coronavirus but is different from the MERS virus. It is presently unclear how the MERS-CoV is spread, but spread among humans has been described. MERS has been shown to cause severe respiratory symptoms including fever and cough, along with gastrointestinal symptoms, pneumonia, and kidney failure. About 50% of the infected patients have died, but it is unclear exactly how many people become infected or die from the infection, since people with milder symptoms may not come to medical attention.
NationalGeographic.com. Possible Pandemic: Is MERS the New SARS?