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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 600 cases including over 180 deaths. Cases have been identified in 18 countries. Two cases have been detected in the United States, in Indiana and Florida, who had traveled to Saudi Arabia. The World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are tracking this virus and its impact. Many people who have been infected with this virus developed severe acute respiratory illness but not all; some people develop only mild illness.

Symptoms included fever, cough, and shortness of breath. About one third 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, but researchers are not sure how often this happens. The situation is still evolving.

No travel warnings or restrictions have been issued related to MERS-CoV at this time, but the CDC is asking travelers, physicians, and airline crew to be on the lookout for MERS-CoV symptoms in people who have a 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). No cases of MERS have been identified in New Hampshire.

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