First identified in 2012, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a novel coronavirus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Symptoms include:
- shortness of breath
Pneumonia is also a common symptom but is not always present.
The disease is more severe in older people and those with underlying disease. Case fatality is reported as approximately 35%.
The vast majority of MERS cases have been reported from the Arabian pennisula, but cases have also been found in other countries, including the UK. Following a single case in 2015, South Korea experienced a large outbreak associated with healthcare facilities.
The source of the virus is thought to be Arabian camels and no sustained human-to-human transmission has ever occurred. However, limited human-to-human transmission can occur if there's close contact to an infected patient and this has led to outbreaks in healthcare facilities.
Case management algorithms
Read our MERS-CoV algorithms below:
Information for microbiologists and virologists
Read our MERS-CoV guidance:
Information for healthcare professionals
Read our MERS-CoV guidance for healthcare professionals on our website.
Read our infection control guidance for severe respiratory illness from novel or emerging pathogens: MERS-CoV and Avian influenza document on our website.
For all infection prevention and control guidance visit the A-Z pathogens section of the National Infection and Prevention Control Manual.
Read the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) rapid risk assessment on the ECDC website.