1.) What is MERS, exactly?
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS) is an upper-respiratory virus that was first detected in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
We don’t know for certain where the virus came from. However, it is likely that iscame from an animal source. In addition to humans, MERS has been found in camels in Qatar, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and a bat in Saudi Arabia.
2.) Has anyone in the U.S. been infected?
Yes, on May 2, the first U.S.case of MERS was confirmed in a traveler from Saudi Arabia to the U.S. On May 11, a second case was confirmed in another traveler who came from Saudi Arabia, but the cases are not linked. On May 16, an Illinois resident who had contact with the first case of MERS tested positive. It is the first case to be contracted within the borders of the U.S.
3.) Is the CDC concerned?
Yes. Most people who have been confirmed to have MERS in the history of the disease developed a severe, acute respiratory illness. They had fever, cough, and shortness of breath. About 30 percent of these people died. Outside of the U.S., the virus has spread from person to person through close contact, such as caring for or living with an infected person. CDC recognizes the potential for the virus to spread further and cause more cases globally, including in the United States.
4.) What are the symptoms of MERS?
Most people who got infected with MERS experience high fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
5.) Am I at risk?
The MERS situation in the U.S. represents a very low risk to the general public in this country.
6.) How can I protect myself?
CDC advises that people help protect themselves by taking everyday preventive actions:
8.) What if I've traveled to those countries recently?
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 the Arabian Peninsula or nearby, you should see a doctor as soon as possible and mention your recent travel.
9.) Is there a vaccine?
No. More research needs to be done and the CDC is discussing the possibility of developing one.
10.) Is there treatment?
There are no specific treatments recommended for illnesses caused by MERS. Medical care is to help relieve symptoms.