Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is viral respiratory illness first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. It is caused by a
coronavirus called MERS-CoV. Most people who have been confirmed to have MERS-CoV infection developed severe acute respiratory illness. They had fever, cough, and shortness of breath. About 30% of these people died.
Recent Travelers from the Arabian Peninsula If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after traveling from countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula, you should call ahead to a healthcare provider and mention your recent travel. While sick, stay home from work or school and delay future travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others.
Close Contacts of an Ill Traveler from the Arabian Peninsula If you have had close contact with someone who recently traveled from a country in or near the Arabian Peninsula*, and the traveler has/had fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, you should monitor your health for 14 days, starting from the day you were last exposed to the ill person. If you develop fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, you should call ahead to a healthcare provider and mention your recent contact with the traveler. While sick, stay home from work or school and delay future travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others.
Close Contacts of a Confirmed or Probable Case of MERS If you have had close contact with someone who has a probable or confirmed MERS-CoV infection, you should contact a healthcare provider for an evaluation. Your healthcare provider may request laboratory testing and outline additional recommendations, depending on the findings of your evaluation and whether you have symptoms. You most likely will be asked to monitor your health for 14 days, starting from the day you were last exposed to the ill person.
If you develop symptoms, call your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Before your medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell him or her about your possible exposure to MERS-CoV. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected. Ask your healthcare provider to call the local or state health department.
Healthcare Personnel Not Using Recommended Infection-Control Precautions Healthcare personnel should adhere to recommended infection control measures, including standard, contact, and airborne precautions, while managing symptomatic close contacts, patients under investigation, and patients who have probable or confirmed MERS-CoV infections. Recommended infection control precautions should also be utilized when collecting specimens. Healthcare personnel who had close contact with a confirmed or probable case of MERS while the case was ill, if not using recommended infection control precautions (e.g. appropriate use of personal protective equipment), are at increased risk of developing MERS-CoV infection and should be evaluated and monitored by a healthcare professional with a higher index of suspicion.
MERS - Main Page CDC
Info for Healthcare Providers CDC
MERS in the US CDC
MERS for Healthcare Providers IDPH
Communicable Disease Main Page
Countries considered in the Arabian Peninsula and neighboring include: Bahrain; Iraq; Iran; Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon; Oman; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Syria; the United Arab Emirates (UAE); and Yemen.
Close contact is defined as: a) any person who provided care for the patient, including a healthcare worker or family member, or had similarly close physical contact; or b) any person who stayed at the same place (e.g. lived with, visited) as the patient while the patient was ill.
Non-emergency calls received after working hours will be answered the next business day.