MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome)


mers• MERS is caused by a novel coronavirus (MERS-CoV). It affects the respiratory system. So far, about 4 out of every 10 patients diagnosed with MERS have died. Countries of and in close proximity to the Arabian Peninsula are the most affected.

• MERS-CoV was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia.

• First classified in the mid 1960s, the human coronavirus subgroups are referred to as alpha, beta, gamma and delta.


There are currently six coronaviruses that can affect humans which include:

Alpha coronaviruses

• Human coronavirus 229E

• Human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63, New Haven coronavirus)

Beta coronaviruses

• Human coronavirus OC43

• Human coronavirus HKU1


• Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)


• Fever, body pain, sore throat (early symptoms)

• Chills (Doctors describe it as flu-like illness with signs and symptoms of pneumonia)

• Cough

• Shortness of breath

• Chest pain

• Gastrointestinal symptoms (less common)

• Diarrhoea

• Nausea/vomiting

• Renal (kidney) failure


Who is at risk

• People with chronic lung disease, diabetes and heart conditions

• The elderly

• Organ transplant recipients who are on immunosuppressive medications

• People with weak immune systems, such as cancer patients undergoing treatment


There is currently no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment recommended for MERS-CoV infection. Those affected with the illness are advised to seek medical care to help relieve the symptoms


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