Middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS)

Sonja A. Rasmussen, Amelia K. Watson, David L. Swerdlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since the identification of the first patients with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2012, over 1,600 cases have been reported as of February 2016. Most cases have occurred in Saudi Arabia or in other countries on or near the Arabian Peninsula, but travel-associated cases have also been seen in countries outside the Arabian Peninsula. MERS-CoV causes a severe respiratory illness in many patients, with a case fatality rate as high as 40%, although when contacts are investigated, a significant proportion of patients are asymptomatic or only have mild symptoms. At this time, no vaccines or treatments are available. Epidemiological and other data suggest that the source of most primary cases is exposure to camels. Person-to-person transmission occurs in household and health care settings, although sustained and efficient person-to-person transmission has not been observed. Strict adherence to infection control recommendations has been associated with control of previous outbreaks. Vigilance is needed because genomic changes in MERS-CoV could result in increased transmissibility, similar to what was seen in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberEI10-0020-2016
JournalMicrobiology Spectrum
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Ecology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this