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What is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)?

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory illness. MERS is caused by a coronavirus called “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus” (MERS-CoV). MERS‐CoV was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia.

Most people who are infected with MERS-CoV develop severe acute respiratory illness within 14 days of exposure. Symptoms may include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and in some cases diarrhea. Some people were reported as having only a mild respiratory illness, but it has a range of severity that can include death.

MERS-CoV can spread between people who are in close contact, such as caring for someone who is ill with MERS-CoV or a household contact. Transmission from infected people to healthcare personnel has occurred.

There has been a limited number of MERS cases confirmed in the United States from travelers returning to the U.S. from abroad.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to closely monitor MERS 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.

Continue to visit this site or CDC's website for updated information as it becomes available.

Are you traveling? Look for these signs in airports to link to the most current MERS information.