The CDC is urging doctors to look for signs of MERS in Americans who have traveled through the Arabian Peninsula.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory illness that is new to humans. Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Since it was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, MERS has caused severe illness and even death in people from several countries. The virus has spread globally, including into the United States.
Health officials first reported the disease in Saudi Arabia in September 2012. Through retrospective investigations, health officials later identified that the first known cases of MERSoccurred in Jordan in April 2012. So far, all cases of MERS have been linked to countries in and near the Arabian Peninsula. This virus has spread from ill people to others through close contact, such as caring for or living with an infected person. However, there is no evidence of sustained spreading in community settings.
MERS can affect anyone. MERS patients have ranged in age from younger than 1 to 94 years old.
CDC continues to closely monitor the MERS situation globally and work with partners to better understand the risks of this virus, including the source, how it spreads, and how infections might be prevented. CDC recognizes the potential for MERS-CoV to spread further and cause more cases globally and in the U.S. We have provided information for travelers and are working with health departments, hospitals, and other partners to prepare for this.
For more information on MERS, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/MERS/about/index.html