Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause a range of illnesses in humans, from the common cold to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Viruses in this family also cause a number of animal diseases. This strain of coronavirus that causes MERS was first identified in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. Our understanding of the virus and the disease it causes is continuing to evolve.
The first case of MERS Co-V infection in the United States, identified in a traveler, was reported to CDC by the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) on May 1, 2014, and confirmed by CDC on May 2. The patient was placed in isolation in a hospital in Indiana after having flown from Saudi Arabia to Chicago via London.
Public health investigations are ongoing to determine the reason for the increased cases. There is no vaccine yet available and no specific treatment recommended for the virus. In some cases, the virus has spread from infected people to others through close contact. However, there is currently no evidence of sustained spread of MERS-CoV in community settings. Additional information is available on the CDC’s website.