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Coronaviruses are common throughout the world. They can infect people and animals. Five different coronaviruses can infect people and make them sick. They usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory illness. But, some coronaviruses, like the one that caused SARS in 2003, can cause severe illness...


A Novel Coronavirus Called "MERS-CoV"

A novel coronavirus called “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus” (MERS-CoV) was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and has since spread to several other countries, including the United States. Most people infected with MERS-CoV have developed severe acute respiratory illness, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Many of them have died.

Only two patients in the U.S. have ever tested positive for MERS-CoV infection—both in May 2014—while more than 500 have tested negative. Nationwide surveillance is ongoing. More about MERS in the U.S.

Also see MERS: Guidance for Travel.


Coronaviruses in Animals

Fruit bat

Coronaviruses may infect many different animals and cause them to have respiratory, gastrointestinal, liver, and neurologic diseases. Most of these coronaviruses usually infect only one animal species or, at most, a small number of closely related species. However, some coronaviruses, like the one that caused SARS, can infect people and animals.