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Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is viral respiratory illness first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. It is caused by a coronavirus called MERS-CoV. Most people who have been confirmed to have MERS-CoV infection developed severe acute respiratory illness. They had fever, cough, and shortness of breath. About 30% of people confirmed to have MERS-CoV infection have died.

Image of map showing countries in Arabian Penninsula with confirmed MERs and countries where precautions are recommended, as detailed on this page.So far, all the cases have been linked to countries in and near the Arabian Peninsula. This virus has spread from ill people to others through close contact, such as caring for or living with an infected person. However, there is no evidence of sustained spreading in community settings.

CDC continues to closely monitor the MERS situation globally and work with partners to better understand the risks of this virus, including the source, how it spreads, and how infections might be prevented. CDC recognizes the potential for MERS-CoV to spread further and cause more cases globally and in the U.S. We have provided information for travelers and are working with health departments, hospitals, and other partners to prepare for this.

MERS in the U.S.

On May 2, 2014, the first U.S. imported case of MERS was confirmed in a traveler from Saudi Arabia to the U.S. On May 11, 2014, a second U.S. imported case of MERS was confirmed in a traveler also from Saudi Arabia. The two U.S. cases are not linked. More about MERS in the U.S....

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

For information about MERS, the virus that causes it, how it spreads, symptoms, prevention tips, and what CDC is doing, see Frequently Asked Questions & Answers.

Information for Specific Groups

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People Who May Be at Increased Risk for MERS

Information for travelers from the Arabian Peninsula, contacts of ill travelers from this area, contacts of a confirmed case of MERS, healthcare personnel not using infection-control precautions, and people with exposure to camels…

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Healthcare Providers

Interim guidance, clinical features of MERS, case definitions, infection prevention and control recommendations, preparedness checklists, home care and isolation or quarantine guidance, air medical transport guidance...

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Health Departments

Interim guidance, case definitions, tools to collect data on patients under investigation, and home care and isolation or quarantine guidance...

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Guidelines for collecting, handling and testing clinical specimens, and lab biosafety guidelines...

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Travelers & Airline Crew

Guidelines for travelers and guidance for airline crew on flights arriving to the U.S...


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CDC Commentary: Be on the Alert for This Novel Coronavirus

  • CDC Commentary: Be on the Lookout for MERS-CoV
    CDC Commentary: Be on the Lookout for MERS-CoV
    Running Time 5:26 mins
    Date Released 06/23/2014

    CDC's Dr. Susan Gerber provides an update on MERS, including when to evaluate patients, collecting appropriate specimens, and infection control. The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Road Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
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