The middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus: An emerging virus of global threat

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)


Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus (CoV), first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Since then, almost 2000 cases have been reported from 27 countries, with Saudi Arabia being the epicenter. This newly emerging virus is highly pathogenic and has a case mortality rate of 35%. It is similar to the CoV causing severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV (SARS-CoV) in that both belong to the genus beta CoVs that are of zoonotic origin and cause lower respiratory infection. The natural reservoir for MERS-CoV remains unknown. Serological studies indicate that most dromedary camels in the Middle East have been infected with this virus, and they maybe the potential intermediate host. However, the mode of transmission from camels to humans is poorly understood. The majority of confirmed human cases have resulted from human-to-human transmission, most probably via respiratory route. Patients most at risk of developing severe MERS-CoV infection appear to be those with underlying conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, cardiac diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, and cancer. Unlike SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV is considered an ongoing public health problem, particularly for the Middle East region. In this chapter, we outline the prevailing information regarding the emergence and epidemiology of this virus, its mode of transmission and pathogenicity, its clinical features, and the potential strategies for prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmerging and Reemerging Viral Pathogens
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1: Fundamental and Basic Virology Aspects of Human, Animal and Plant Pathogens
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780128194003
ISBN (Print)9780128194010
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Camels
  • MERS-CoV
  • Middle east
  • Respiratory infection
  • Zoonosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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