The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus first appeared in Saudi Arabia in 2012. From April 2012 through November 8, 2013, 150 cases have been identified; all persons infected with MERS CoV have been linked to 4 countries in the Middle East. There have been no reported cases of this respiratory illness in the United States.
MERS-CoV is a respiratory illness with symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. Individuals who travel to the Arabian Peninsula* or the surrounding countries, or anyone who has close contact with someone who became ill within 14 days of a trip to the Middle East may develop the respiratory illness. There is no specific treatment available for MERS-CoV; however, supportive, or non-specific, treatment may be needed to prevent complications and death. Persons who may have been exposed and become ill with respiratory illness are encouraged to seek care and inform their health care provider of their travel history or contact with a recent traveler.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not discourage anyone from traveling to the Arabian Peninsula and the surrounding countries. However, the CDC does recommend the following safety precautions to help prevent illness:
*Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries include: Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestinian territories, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.