Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

epi MERS-CoV

Summary and risk assessment

5 December 2016 -- The epidemiology and transmission patterns of MERS-CoV are consistent with past patterns described in previous WHO risk assessments: MERS-CoV is a zoonotic virus that has repeatedly entered the human population via contact with infected dromedary camels in the Arabian Peninsula. Males above the age of 60 with underlying conditions are at a higher risk of infection and severe disease, including death.

Infographic on MERS


This infographic provides practical advice for individuals. It includes warning signs to recognize that should trigger a consultation with a health worker, as well as advice on how to protect yourself from contracting MERS-CoV.

A health worker from Hong Kong's Department of Health demonstrates the protocol for quarantining a passenger for Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), on a government employee during a set up demonstation for Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, at Hong Kong airport, Hong Kong SAR.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (MERS‐CoV) that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Our understanding of the virus and the disease it causes is continuing to evolve.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

EPA/A. Hofford

fact buffet

1,917Since September 2012, WHO has been notified of 1,917 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV.

For more: Latest disease outbreak news

684WHO has been notified of 684 deaths related to MERS-CoV since September 2012.

For more: Coronavirus infections news

27Since September 2012, 27 countries have reported cases of MERS-CoV

For more: Fact sheet on MERS-CoV