Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus
Mid-ul Est Res-pah-tur-e Sin-drom Cor-own-uh-vi-rus
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a severe respiratory condition caused by a specific virus. The virus is most often found to countries in and near the Arabian Peninsula.
MERS is caused by a virus. The virus is spread through close contact with infected people. It spreads most often among those who live with or are caring for people with current infection.
Factors that increase your chance of MERS include:
Symptoms may include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Talk to your doctor about any recent travel to countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula, especially if the travel occurred within the past 14 days. Tell your doctor if you have had contact with someone who is ill and who has recently traveled to countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula.
Your bodily fluids may be tested to confirm the source of the infection. This can be done with:
You may have a chest x-ray.
Currently, treatment for MERS is not available. Supportive care will be given to help relieve symptoms and decrease discomfort.
To help reduce your chance of getting MERS or any virus:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
World Health Organization
Public Health Agency of Canada
Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/about/index.html. Updated July 13, 2016. Accessed August 14, 2017.
Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/CORONAVIRUS/MERS/. Updated July 13, 2016. Accessed August 14, 2017.
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated June 26, 2017. Accessed August 14, 2017.
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)—update. World Health Organization website. Available at:
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Updated July 4, 2014. Accessed August 14, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2018 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 5/1/2020
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