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Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) Interim Guidance for Airline Crew: Report Ill Travelers on Flights Arriving to the United States

This document provides interim guidance for the commercial airline industry about the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Because this is a new virus in humans, CDC is following this situation closely, and we are coordinating with our domestic and international partners.

MERS situation update

MERS is associated with severe respiratory illness and death, but is not very common. Some people who have traveled to the Arabian Peninsula and neighboring countries have been infected. It has also spread to several countries outside this region. These cases have had a direct or indirect connection to the Middle East and Saudi Arabia.

MERS has spread between people who were in close and prolonged contact with an infected person, such as a family member or patients and health care workers in hospitals.

See the links below for the latest updates.

Please report to CDC ill travelers (with symptoms below) arriving from countries in and near the Arabian Peninsula: These countries include Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestinian territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), and Yemen.

Please report as soon as possible—before arrival—by one of the methods described in the Guidance for Airlines on Reporting Onboard Deaths or Illnesses to CDC.

Report to CDC if the ill person:

  • feels warm to the touch, gives a history of feeling feverish, or has an actual measured temperature of 100° F (37.8° C) or higher, PLUS
  • has a cough or difficulty breathing.
Please follow your company's policy for personal protection.

CDC Quarantine Station staff will obtain information about the ill traveler’s exposures and other risk factors for infection with the MERS. If necessary, CDC staff will coordinate transport to a medical facility for evaluation and testing. CDC will update the airline about the results of the testing and any need for follow-up or treatment of exposed crew members or passengers.

More Information

More information about MERS and general infection control guidelines for air industry, can be found at these CDC websites:

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