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MERS CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus)

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What is MERS?

MERS is a respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus. Symptoms can be very severe. One third of people with confirmed infections died from the disease. Most of those who died had underlying medical conditions, however the disease can affect anyone.

The disease originated near Saudi Arabia in 2012. Only two cases have been confirmed in the U.S., and both were travel related. The mode of transmission for the virus is unknown.

Report suspected cases of MERS immediately.

Providers and facilities should report potential cases if they meet the following case definition. To report, visit our Report Notifiable Conditions page, or call (253) 798-6534.

We also recommend implementing airborne, contact and standard infection control precautions if MERS is suspected.

Case Definition:

  • Fever (≥ 38°C , 100.4°F) and pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome; AND either
    • Travel from the Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries* within 14 days of onset, or
    • Close contact with a person with fever or any respiratory illness who has traveled from the Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries* within 14 days.

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