Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a respiratory illness caused by a virus (a coronavirus (MERS-CoV)) recently recognized in humans, since 2012. Most of the reported cases have developed severe acute respiratory illness with fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and approximately 30-40% have died. All cases of MERS have been linked to travel to or residence in countries in and near the Arabian Peninsula (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/risk.html#peninsula).
Although it is not clear exactly how MERS-CoV is transmitted, MERS has spread from person to person through close contact, such as caring for or living with an infected person. It has caused outbreaks in healthcare settings but there has not been ongoing transmission in communities. The largest outbreak outside of the Arabian peninsula was associated with a traveler from this area returning home to the Republic of Korea in 2015. As of December 11, 2018, only two patients in the United States have tested positive for MERS-CoV, both in 2014. However, cases continue to occur in the Arabian peninsula.
Although MERS-CoV is not listed separately on the list of reportable diseases, it falls under the category of a Novel Virus Infection with Pandemic Potential or an Unusual Disease for reporting immediately.Clinicians should continue to consider MERS in patients with exposure in that area and compatible symptoms (see below), immediately isolate the patient utilizing standard, contact and airborne precautions (including eye protection), and notify OCHCA Epidemiology by phone at 714-834-8180.
Making Orange County a safe, healthy, and fulfilling place to live, work, and play, today and for generations to come, by providing outstanding, cost-effective regional public services.
You Are Now Leaving the County of Orange Official Portal