Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

Update on MERS-CoV regional assessment

May 2018 - At the end of May 2018, a total of 2220 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS, including 790 associated deaths (case–fatality rate: 35.6%) were reported globally; the majority of these cases were reported from Saudi Arabia (1844 cases, including 716 related deaths with a case–fatality rate of 38.8%).

The demographic and epidemiological characteristics of the cases reported in May 2018 do not show any significant difference compared to cases reported during the same period from 2013 to 2018. Owing to improved infection prevention and control practices in hospitals, the number of hospital-acquired cases of MERS has dropped significantly since 2015.

2018 annual review of the Blueprint list of priority diseases

9 March 2018 - WHO has developed a special tool to identify pathogens that pose a public health risk because of their epidemic potential and for which there are no, or insufficient, countermeasures. The diseases identified through this process are the focus of the work of R&D Blueprint.

The 2nd annual review was carried out on 6-7 February 2018, and the list of blueprint priority diseases includes: Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, Ebola virus disease and Marburg virus disease, Lassa fever, MERS-CoV, SARS, Nipah and henipaviral diseases, Rift Valley fever, Zika virus disease and disease X.

MERS-CoV  map

Countries agree next steps to combat global health threat by MERS-CoV

27 September 2017 -- Critical next steps to accelerate the response to the global public health threat posed by MERS-CoV have been agreed by representatives from the Ministries of Health and Ministries of Agriculture of affected and at risk countries, and experts. The virus, which circulates in dromedary camels without causing visible disease, can be fatal for humans.

MERS-CoV map

Latest WHO MERS-CoV global summary and assessment of risk

July 2017 -- Between 2012 and 21 July 2017, 2040 laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome-coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection were reported to WHO, 82% of whom were reported by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In total, cases have been reported from 27 countries in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, the United States of America, and Asia. Thus far, no sustained human-to-human transmission has occurred anywhere in the world, however limited non-sustained human-to-human transmission in health-care facilities remains a prominent feature of this virus. WHO continues to work with health authorities in the affected countries.


WHO publishes MERS-CoV vaccine product profile

New standards for vaccines for MERS-CoV – which has so far killed at least 693 people – have been set by WHO and partners. The “WHO Target Product Profiles for MERS-CoV Vaccines” describes minimum acceptable standards for three vaccines currently under development: one vaccine intended to prevent transmission of this virus from dromedary camels to people; and two vaccines for use in outbreaks of this deadly disease and for longer-term protection of people at high risk.


Introductory level online course on MERS

Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, or MERS-CoV).

A new course on MERS is hosted by the new OpenWHO learning platform and consists of 4 interactive modules featuring video lectures, presentations and self-tests. The course is aimed to provide information about what is known about this virus, the disease it causes and the ways to prevent, respond to, and control outbreaks of MERS.

WHO/A. Bhatiasevi

fact buffet

2,220Since September 2012, WHO has been notified of 2,220 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV.

For more: MERS Situation Updates

790790 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