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Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS): Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment

Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that cause severe illness. In 2003, the first known illness caused by a coronavirus- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) was reported in China. A second outbreak Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) occurred in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. In this article, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of MERS.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, also called MERS-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a viral illness that severely infects your lungs. It is caused by a virus that belongs to the coronavirus family [1].

MERS-CoV is a zoonotic virus, meaning it can spread from animals to humans. Exposure to camels or camel products were the source of MERS-CoV infection in humans. The presences of antibodies to the virus have been found in camels in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar [2].

MERS-CoV is transmitted easily when a person comes in close contact with an infected camel. The virus can enter the human body through air or by the consumption of raw camel milk or uncooked camel meat.

Symptoms Of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

Shortness of breath

Sore throat Fever

Cough with or without blood



Muscle pain

Stomach pain

Diagnosis Of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

The doctor will physically examine you and ask about your symptoms and your recent travel history. Then for diagnosis, samples will be taken from the patient’s respiratory tract. Polymerase chain reaction testing (RT-PCR testing) is a diagnostic test that confirms the presence of MERS-CoV in the body [4]. Blood tests, chest X-ray, lung secretion test and kidney function tests can also help determine if a person has been infected or not.

Treatment Of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

There is no specific treatment or vaccine to cure MERS-CoV, however, most patients with mild symptoms can recover with the help of medications. They should be isolated to prevent the spreading of the disease. In severe cases, patients may have lung failure [5].