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Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

Florida Health

Disease Control

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Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. MERS is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus called Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). MERS-CoV infection often develops into severe acute respiratory illness. Most people identified with MERS to date have developed  fever, cough, and shortness of breath within 2-14 days of exposure. More than 30% of confirmed cases have died. So far, most human cases have occurred in persons residing in, or travelling to the Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries. Other cases have occurred outside this area, but involve persons with close contact to ill travelers from the Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries.

There is no evidence of sustained spreading in community settings although MERS-CoV has been shown to spread among family members and care takers in hospital settings where there has been close contact, such as caring for or living with an infected person. There is no specific treatment for the virus. Vaccine is in development but is not available at this time.

Further information about MERS-CoV can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) websites.

General Resources

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