What is MERS?
MERS is a viral respiratory illness. MERS is caused by a coronavirus called “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus” (MERS-CoV).
The virus can spread from person to person and can cause severe respiratory illnesses.
MERS-CoV was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. As of May 2014, all cases have occurred in or had a direct link to the Middle East. Some travelers infected there have become sick after returning to other regions of the world. The first MERS case in the United States was reported in Indiana in May 2014.
Symptoms of MERS
The symptoms of MERS may include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, body aches, sore throat, headache, diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, and runny nose. Symptoms may initially be similar to a cold or the flu, but people with MERS may develop pneumonia and difficulty breathing.
Is MERS-CoV the same as the SARS virus?
No. MERS-CoV is not the same coronavirus that caused severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003. However, like the SARS virus, MERS-CoV is most similar to coronaviruses found in bats.