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Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome is a respiratory illness first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. It is caused by a type of virus called a coronavirus named MERS-CoV. There have been over 160 cases including over 70 deaths. Cases have been identified in 10 countries. No cases have been detected in the United States. The World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are tracking this virus and its impact. Most people who have been infected with this virus developed severe acute respiratory illness. Their symptoms included fever, cough, and shortness of breath. About half of the confirmed patients have died. Scientists are still working to discover where the virus came from. The virus has spread from ill people to others through close contact only. Though the virus has not been shown to spread in a sustained way, the situation is still evolving. No travel warnings or restrictions have been issued related to MERS-CoV at this time. The CDC is recommending surveillance and testing of people who have unexplained severe respiratory illness and history of travel to countries in the Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries (which include Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates [UAE], and Yemen).

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