Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) coverage

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a particular strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. There is very limited information on transmission, severity and clinical impact with only a small number of cases reported thus far.

In general, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that includes viruses that may cause a range of illnesses in humans, from the common cold to SARS. Viruses of this family also cause a number of animal diseases. MERS-CoV is a particular strain of coronavirus which was formerly referred to as novel coronavirus (nCoV).

MERS-CoV is a zoonotic virus, which means it is a virus that is transmitted between animals and people. Studies have shown that humans are infected through direct or indirect contact with infected dromedary camels. MERS-CoV has been identified in dromedaries in several countries in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

The origins of the virus are not fully understood but, according to the analysis of different virus genomes, it is believed that it may have originated in bats and was transmitted to camels sometime in the distant past.