Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

Update on MERS-CoV regional assessment

27 November 2018 - At the end of October 2018, a total of 2266 laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), including 804 associated deaths (case–fatality rate: 35.5%) were reported globally; the majority of these cases were reported from Saudi Arabia (1888 cases, including 730 related deaths with a case–fatality rate of 38.7%). The demographic and epidemiological characteristics of reported cases, when compared with the same corresponding period of 2013 to 2018, do not show any significant difference or change. Owing to improved infection prevention and control practices in hospitals, the number of hospital-acquired cases of MERS has dropped significantly since 2015.

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.


Five things you need to know about MERS

17 September 2018 - Five things you should know about Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a viral respiratory illness that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Find out how it is transmitted and is it possible to have a human-to-human transmission, as well as what are the signs and symptoms of this illness and why it is difficult to detect cases early.

Case of imported MERS reported in Republic of Korea

9 September 2018 - The Republic of Korea has officially reported an imported case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). This is the first case seen in the country since the end of an outbreak in 2015.


WHO MERS global summary and assessment of risk

August 2018 - MERS remains a global threat and has the potential to cause large outbreaks with substantial public health, security and economic consequences.

WHO continues to work with Ministry officials in all affected and at-risk countries and with international partners to better understand transmission patterns and risk factors of MERS-CoV infection in community and health care settings and to develop improved measures to prevent human infections. WHO’s global risk assessment of MERS remains unchanged from the last publication, on 21 July 2017.

WHO and IVI hold Joint Symposium for MERS-CoV Vaccine Development

27 June 2018 - The WHO-IVI Joint Symposium for MERS-CoV Vaccine Development brought together more than 120 experts and professionals from industry, academia, international organizations and government agencies around the world on 26-27 June in Seoul.

“This symposium is a continuation of discussions by many partners about the development and potential use of MERS-specific vaccines in dromedary camels and humans,” said Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, MERS-CoV Technical Lead at WHO. “Accelerating development of vaccines for this high threat pathogen is critical to prevent human infections.”

fact buffet

2,266Since September 2012, WHO has been notified of 2,266 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV.

For more: MERS Situation Updates

804804 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