Thursday, December 8, 2016


Several more cases of MERS-CoV have arisen in Saudi Arabia this week. As of December 6, three male patients with ages ranging from 24-78 years old have contracted the disease. So far all the patients are in stable condition. There is no information out about the spread of the virus, but each reported case is from a different city. MERS-CoV can be spread human-to-human through respiratory or direct transmission, and can also be spread through zoonosis. It is thought to have originated from camels.

MERS symptoms include coughing, fever, and shortness of breath. It sometimes presents with gastrointestinal symptoms. MERS can progress to a more serious disease, and cause effects like respiratory compromise and liver or kidney failure. The disease has a fairly high mortality rate,  three out of ten diagnosed cases die, although many of those who have expired because of MERS had an underlying condition or immunocompromise. MERS-CoV has infected people from all ages. It has an incubation period of 5-6 days. So far, there have only been two cases of MERS in the United States. It is an ongoing problem in the Middle East, and is especially prevalent in Saudi Arabia.  

MERS-CoV is a coronavirus, but seems most closely related to coronaviruses identified in bats similar to SARS-CoV. This is opposed to common human coronaviruses like 229E, which cause mild respiratory illness around the world.

See here for updates of incidence in Saudi Arabia:

See here for general information about MERS:

Picture credit:

Elisa Hofmeister ‘18

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