Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

MERS Global Summary and Assessment of Risk

2 August 2019 - Overall, the epidemiology, transmission patterns, clinical presentation of MERS patients and viral characteristics reported since the last update 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 direct or indirect contact with infected dromedary camels in the Arabian Peninsula. Limited, non-sustained human-to-human transmission mainly in health care settings continues to occur, primarily in Saudi Arabia. The risk of exported cases to areas outside of the Middle East due to travel remains significant.

Worldwide reduction in MERS cases and deaths since 2016

8 July 2019 - WHO and colleagues from the University of Oxford, Imperial College London and Institut Pasteur have estimated that, since 2016, 1,465 cases of Middle East Respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and between 300 and 500 deaths may have been averted due to accelerated global efforts to detect infections early and reduce transmission.

MERS Monthly Summary, April 2019

22 May 2019 - At the end of April 2019, a total of 2428 laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), including 838 associated deaths (case–fatality rate: 34.5%) were reported globally; the majority of these cases were reported from Saudi Arabia (2037 cases, including 760 related deaths with a case–fatality rate of 37.3%). During the month of April, a total of 29 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS were reported globally. All the 29 cases were reported from Saudi Arabia with 11 associated deaths.

Disease Commodity Package for MERS-CoV

March 2019 - WHO has designed the Disease Commodity Packages (DCPs) - a series of disease specific datasheets that list the critical commodities and the technical specifications for each commodity per disease. The DCPs inform Member States and operational partners of commodity requirements and potential gaps in the health emergency supply chain. From an operational readiness perspective, the DCPs provide the basis for a globalized stockpile system, response planning, technical guidance and supply market assessments.

MERS therapeutics and vaccines workshop

13 February 2019 - On November 30 2018, the WHO R&D Blueprint and Global Program on MERS convened a group of experts to discuss methodological issues and agree a priori on principles in the design, conduct and analysis of Phase2b/Phase 3 clinical trials to evaluate MERS-CoV therapeutics and vaccines, based on key epidemiological considerations and driven by treatment and vaccine needs from a public health perspective.


Pool of MERS experts for deployment established by WHO

From 23 to 25 October, 60 high-level public health and MERS practitioners, researchers, and experts met in Abu Dhabi to establish a pool of experts that can be deployed rapidly during any future outbreaks of MERS.

Despite the substantial response to MERS by national health authorities, WHO, and partners in all affected and at-risk countries, the number of senior technically trained regional experts on MERS remains limited while the need for such expertise has grown. With this three-day workshop, WHO’s Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean aimed to expand the pool of MERS experts that can be deployed rapidly during any future outbreaks, in the Region and globally.

WHO/S. van Woerden

FAO, OIE, WHO on MERS: Progress on the global response, remaining challenges and the way forward

26 September 2018 - In September 2017, FAO, OIE and WHO brought together affected member states, public health and animal officials, and academics to discuss what is known and unknown about the zoonotic origin of MERS-CoV.

The recently published meeting report summarizes how focused efforts in activities and investments to address scientific and public health research questions, accelerate promising medical interventions and a more strategic on where activities are conducted globally will go further to address remaining public health unknowns.


fact buffet

2 449Since September 2012, WHO has been notified of 2449 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV.

For more: MERS Situation Updates

845845 MERS-CoV associated deaths have occurred 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