Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Travel health centre

MERS-CoV FAQs

By
WebMD UK Health News
Medically Reviewed by Dr Sheena Meredith
69x75_camel.jpg

17th June 2015 – Nineteen people have died following an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) in South Korea.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the outbreak started with the introduction of MERS-CoV – also known as MERS – infection into the country by a single infected traveller and was amplified by infection in hospitals and movement of cases within and among hospitals.

To date, there have been 162 confirmed cases of MERS in South Korea.

According to WHO, the number of new cases occurring each day appears to be declining, suggesting that containment measures in place are having an effect in reducing new infections.

Public Health England says although there is a risk of the virus being imported into the UK, the risk remains low. However, it says health professionals should remain vigilant because of the importance of early containment measures.

What do we know about this infection? Read our FAQs.

What is MERS-CoV?

MERS is a relatively new type of severe respiratory illness.

Infection with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. The disease is believed to have started in camels, but most cases now stem from human-to-human transmission.

One of the first people to be diagnosed was seen by doctors in the UK after returning from the Middle East.

As of the 9th June 2015, there had been 1,218 cases of MERS reported to WHO, with at least 449 related deaths.

A total of 25 countries have reported cases of MERS. The vast majority of cases have so far occurred in Saudi Arabia.

What are the symptoms of MERS-CoV?

Patients treated for MERS-CoV have had symptoms including:

Many of the milder symptoms are also seen in more common illnesses, such as colds and flu. Anyone with these symptoms who's been to the Middle East recently should let doctors know about their travel, especially if symptoms worsen.

How is MERS-CoV treated?

Some patients with MERS have been admitted to hospital initially suspected of having pneumonia and were given antibiotics.

Patients with MERS-CoV who suffer acute respiratory failure may need to use a ventilator machine to breathe with oxygen.

Hospitals are briefed to keep anyone suspected of having MERS-CoV isolated to help stop infection spreading.

Stay informed

Sign up for BootsWebMD's free newsletters.
Sign Up Now!

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

woman looking at pregnancy test
Early pregnancy symptoms
donut on plate
The truth about sugar addiction
smiling_handsome_man
Put your best face forward
couple watching sunset
How much do you know?
foot being rubbed
What's causing your aching feet
smiling african american woman
Best kept secrets of healthy hair
assorted spices
Pump up the flavour with spices
fish n chips
Digestive problem foods to avoid
palm tree and beach
How to make it less stressful
woman with cucumbers on eyes
How to banish dark circles and bags
african american woman wiping sweat from forehead
Relief from excessive sweating
polka dot dress on hangar
Lose weight without dieting