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First identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012 Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (MERS‐CoV) . The coronaviruses are a large grouping of viruses known to cause diseases ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The World Health Organization (WHO) is working to share scientific evidence with clinicians and scientists to better understand the virus and the disease it causes, and to determine outbreak response priorities, treatment strategies, and clinical management approaches.
MERS is circulating widely throughout the Arabian Peninsula. Recent cases that have been reported outside the Middle East first developed infection in the Middle East and then were exported outside the region. These travel‐related cases include those exported to France and the UK in 2013 and those reported in the United States in 2014. The latest information on cases can be found in WHO Disease Outbreak News at http://www.who.int/csr/don/en/ .
Data indicates 27% of patients with MERS have died. Symptoms of typical cases of MERS include; fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and on examination commonly include Pneumonia. The syndrome may also include GI symptoms, such as diarrhea. The severe course of the disease process can cause respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation and support in the ICU. Some patients may experience septic shock, or organ failure, especially involving the kidneys. To learn more go to http://www.who.int/csr/disease/coronavirus_infections/faq/en/.